Noise Disturbance Noise Pollution

The excessive noise pollution in Dhaka

The alarmingly high levels of noise pollution in Dhaka city are negatively affecting the daily lives of those who live there. The capital’s normalcy is being disrupted by rising traffic, needless honking, excessive use of loudspeakers, and other high-decibel noise sources. There is a noticeable deficiency in the efficient enforcement of current laws.

The excessive noise is posing serious health risks to residents of Dhaka. Hearing loss affects many people, with college and university students being the most affected. Patients, the elderly, and children are especially at risk, and traffic cops are unable to avoid the noise assault.

The general public’s lack of awareness regarding the dangers of noise pollution is something experts point out. The Environmental Science Department at Stamford University’s Prof. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder noted, “Loudspeakers, construction noise, and needless honking are making everyday life intolerable.” This problem affects not only physical health but also mental health, crop yields, and even the reproduction of urban plants.”

Prof. Majumder continued, saying that just limiting the use of horns excessively could cut Dhaka’s noise pollution by 60%. But in this sense, ineffective law enforcement impedes development. “We have laws, but they are hardly ever put into practice. For example, there should be quiet zones around mosques, schools, and hospitals according to the Noise Pollution Control Rules of 2006, but these are rarely enforced.”

Concerns regarding noise pollution’s long-term effects are being voiced by health professionals. The Director General (DG) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Prof. Dr. Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, gave an explanation: “Dhaka has noise levels that are more than twice as high as acceptable, which can cause major problems for both physical and mental health. In addition to hearing loss, diabetes and heart problems are on the rise. Older people, children, and pregnant women are especially vulnerable. While continuous exposure to 85 decibels for two hours a day can gradually deteriorate hearing, noise levels as high as 120 decibels can cause immediate hearing damage.”

Experts stress the importance of long-term planning and more stringent application of current legislation. “Nations with sophisticated noise abatement policies penalize individuals who use their horns excessively. Here, we also require strong enforcement,” Prof. Majumder urged. In addition, he demanded that noise control measures, such as refraining from wearing headphones needlessly, be adhered to and that public awareness be raised.

From April 2021 to March 2022, the Stamford University Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) examined noise levels at ten different locations in Dhaka. The study found that in every area surveyed, noise levels were higher than acceptable. In particular, noise levels were higher than the standard thresholds 96.7% of the time in quiet zones, 91.2% in residential areas, 83.2% in mixed-use areas, 61% in commercial areas, and 18.2% in industrial areas.

The results of CAPS demonstrate how widespread noise pollution is in Dhaka, with 82% of all monitored locations regularly recording noise levels above 60 dB. Enforcement of the Noise Pollution Control Rules 2006, which establish acceptable noise levels for residential areas at 45 decibels at night and 55 during the day, and for commercial areas at 60 decibels at night and 70 during the day, is still quite difficult.

Action must be taken quickly and thoroughly in response to the Dhaka situation. Mitigating the city’s noise pollution crisis requires strengthening legal frameworks, raising public awareness, and enforcing noise control measures. Residents of Dhaka will continue to suffer from the constant assault of noise pollution unless immediate action is taken to improve their health and general well-being.