Dhaka's noise pollution needs immediate action

The fact that Dhaka took the first spot among the cities with worst noise pollution added new concerns to the previous ones over the city’s poor condition due to air pollution. Earlier, Dhaka topped the list of the world's top cities with air pollution more than once. Last week, Dhaka ranked second among the world’s cities with polluted air. Meanwhile, Muradabad in Uttar Pradesh, India and Islamabad in Pakistan are in second and third place after Dhaka in terms of noise pollution.

UNEP's global report on the United Nations Environment Programme, titled 'Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches', also highlights how noise pollution is affecting people's physical and mental health. According to the report, three of the top five cities in the world in terms of noise pollution are located in South Asia.

The tolerable indoor noise level for humans is 55 decibels, according to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The level is 70 decibels for outdoor commercial area. But in Dhaka this level is 119 decibels and in Rajshahi it is 103 decibels. The main sources of noise pollution are noise produced from vehicles, airplanes, trains, factories and recreational activities. If these sounds exceed the standard level, it endangers the physical and mental health of the people.

Noise pollution is increasing at an excessive rate, not only in the capital Dhaka, but also in the whole country. As soon as there is a traffic jam, all kinds of vehicles start honking their horns. The sound of construction work and loudspeakers played loudly also produce a lot of noise. According to standard scientific estimation, noise levels of 85 decibels or more are harmful to the human body.

According to an article published on the website of the Australian Academy of Sciences, a person's hearing can be severely impaired for being exposed to loud noises. Loud noise also disturbs people's sleep. Loud noises can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and anxiety. Children who suffer from noise pollution day after day may lose the ability to concentrate and study.

The authorities do not seem bothered even after this harrowing picture of noise pollution was revealed. An official questioned the accuracy of the report. No research is needed to measure the level of noise pollution in Dhaka city. Every citizen is going through this.

Although the Noise Pollution Control Rules were enacted in 2006, there is no record of disciplinary action being taken against those responsible. The noise and air pollution is also the reason why the residents of Dhaka are suffering from various diseases at an exorbitant rate. The government can at least form a task force to take necessary steps.

Civic awareness is also important to reduce air and noise pollution in Dhaka city. Especially honking randomly should be stopped. Those who do not comply with the law must be punished. Due to the negligence of some people, we cannot push the lives of 15 million people into uncertainty.