It is disconcerting to note that Dhaka was ranked as the most noise polluted city in the world, according to ‘Annual Frontier Report, 2022’ published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The noise level most of the time in this city is more than twice the tolerable standard, which is causing long term damage to physical and mental health of the city dwellers. The report found the average noise level in Dhaka to be 119 decibels, the highest in the world in 2021, while, according to the 1999 WHO guidelines for community noise level, the recommended limits are 55dB for residential areas and 70dB for traffic and commercial areas. It is worth mentioning that some 25.3 per cent of professionals working on the roads of five city corporations – Dhaka South, Dhaka North, Rajshahi, Cumilla, and Sylhet – are suffering from hearing impairment.
Because of rapid urbanization and industrialization, noise pollution is increasing in the capital and adversely affecting the environment of this city while causing physical and psychological problems. There is no denying that the problems of air and water pollution have received much publicity through media, but there seems to be a lack of awareness in case of noise pollution. Hitherto we have not been vocal enough about the adverse effect of noise pollution, which is no longer just a minor health hazard. Over the years a little progress has been made to contain this growing problem.
Noise pollution can be
reduced through enforcement
of laws and increasing public
Dhaka’s noise pollution is mainly caused by traffic horns, construction works, loudspeakers, political programmes, factory work and often generators. Together, they constitute a menace for which everyone suffers every minute of the day. Study suggests that hydraulic horns of vehicles are the main source of noise pollution in Dhaka. Experts are of the opinion that noise pollution causes auditory fatigue, high blood pressure, headache, indigestion and affects sleep. Working in an atmosphere of loud noise for a long period can cause complete deafness to any person. Traffic policemen are at an increased risk of hearing problems because they are engaged in controlling traffic.
The traffic police serving many years together in the field are diagnosed with hearing problems. Also, it has been observed that pregnant mothers living near big airports give birth to more crippled, deformed and immature children than those living in other places.
It is time to take strict measures to control the level of noise pollution in the city. Noise pollution can be reduced through enforcement of laws and increasing public awareness. We must take this growing menace seriously and devise required measures to enforce related laws to address it. Authorities concerned should implement noise monitoring rules and regulations. We believe, proper management can reduce the noise level and rid the Dhaka dwellers of the harmful effects of sound pollution.