The day-to-day life of city dwellers, especially of Dhaka residents, have been menaced by acute toxic air and cranky noises coming from heavy industries, chemical plants, brick kilns, hydraulic horns and loud speaker.

Environmental organisation Greenpeace has recently published an alarming report about air pollution which says, the estimated yearly loss due to air pollution is Tk 1.25 trillion in Bangladesh.

As many as 96,000 children died of diseases caused by air pollution in 2018. More than 4 million patients, suffering from respiratory diseases like breathing issues or asthma due to high score of pollutants in air, take medical helps every year in the country.

According to Air Visual, an air quality monitoring organisation, estimated the Dhaka’s air as very unhealthy. Incidentally, Dhaka ranked second worst city in Air Quality Index on Sunday morning.

Besides the poisonous air there are loads of unbearable noises coming from hundreds of sources. We know, the endurable sound level is 50 decibel. Study shows, the sound level is more than 90 in most of the corners of Dhaka while the level is more than 120 in some of the places. Most of the city dwellers are now badly suffering from extreme sound pollution.

One third of the total population in Dhaka will suffer hearing conditions if this noise pollution continues next five years. A number of them may go deaf, too.

It is understandable that it is difficult to reduce air pollution overnight. Several brick kilns, industries and vehicles need to be closed for that.

Around 62 per cent of the illegal brick kilns were closed in the last one and half years. However, there are some other projects that can be controlled in a planned way. For instance, digging roads here and there can be stopped or done in a planned way. Stringent rules and regulations should be implemented to prevent pollution as well.

In many developed countries, roads are covered with grasses. It is necessary for Dhaka, too. City corporation authorities undertook initiatives to plant trees on road dividers. But the dividers are not covered with grasses that result in creating huge amount of dusts. Apart from planting trees, the authorities must take up initiatives for regular watering of trees and covering all the open areas of Dhaka.

On the other hand, with sincere intent and some effective initiatives, the government may easily reduce sound pollution to a significant extent. Particularly, the use of car horn and loud speaker can be controlled by the administration if desired. Since these loud sounds have nothing to do with the country’s development, the administration will not face much resistance or any pressure for stopping it.

To be precise, changing the mind-set of the policymakers is the first thing required to contain noise and air pollution in the city. Dhaka can get rid of the choking condition only if short, medium and long-term integrated plans can be adopted and implemented for reducing and preventing all sorts of pollution.