Noise pollution ‘affecting 5m people’ in Dhaka

Noise pollution

Noise pollution in Dhaka city is now three times higher than the tolerable level, and the invisible danger is putting around 5 million people at health risk, Environment, Forest and Climate Change minister Mohammad Shahab Uddin said on Wednesday.

Noise pollution, considered to be any unwanted or disturbing sound that affects the health and well-being, has become an increasingly big issue in cities like Dhaka, reports UNB.

People are often becoming the source of indoor and outdoor noise pollution without being aware of it, the minister said. The minister was speaking at a virtual workshop organised by the Department of Environment on the occasion of International Noise Awareness Day 2021.

From traffic noise to loud or inescapable sounds from construction sites and social and political programmes, sound pollution is impacting millions of people daily.

The most common health problem causes irreversible noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), according to experts. Exposure to loud noise can also cause health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and stress in all age groups, especially children.

Citing the World Health Organization, Shahab Uddin said 1.1 billion people - aged 12-35 - are at risk of hearing loss due to their involvement in excessively noisy recreational activities.

He said Dhaka South City Corporation has been tasked with implementing a "silent zone area" around the secretariat and this project will be implemented as soon as the Covid-19 situation comes under control.

Silent zones were declared in all nine city corporations where hospitals, educational institutions and administrative areas are situated, he added.

To ensure that all silent zones are free from unwanted or disturbing sound, different agencies, including the Department of Environment, police, city corporations, and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, will work together, the minister said.

To keep the silent zones - declared in the nine city corporations - free from noise pollution, a new law will be enacted by amending the existing one, if required, the minister added.