Noise pollution threatens urban population  

Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled     | Published: August 17, 2018 22:17:23 | Updated: August 18, 2018 20:47:10

Noise pollution has been a growing menace in the urban areas of the country. Families living near the roads and highways suffer from acute noise pollution round-the-clock. It is alleged by many health experts that an increasing rate of hearing problems are occurring among the members of these households.

Surveys conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UNICEF show that some 12 types of environment pollution including noise pollution are the main reasons for some 30 types of diseases.

The WHO has pointed out that the noise level in commercial areas at daytime should not exceed 65 decibels and 55 decibels at night. In industrial areas, it should be limited to 75 decibels during the day and 65 decibels at night. In case of zones with hospitals, schools etc., the sound should not exceed 50 decibels in day and 40 decibels at night.

As per several surveys, the level of sound pollution in Dhaka ranges between 60 to 106 decibels. This is causing physical and mental diseases among its inhabitants.

Healthcare professionals are of the opinion that acute noise pollution hinders the normal mental growth of children under the age of five years. Sound pollution also increases hypertension, decreases the usual sleeping time and negatively impacts hearing power among them. Also, children face difficulties in focussing attention to their academic activities at latter ages due to noise pollution. Physicians have noted that noise pollution is one of the main reasons for the increasing number of physically and mentally challenged babies in urban areas. Some children are also suffering from cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, chronic headache and other diseases.

Noise pollution is mostly caused by the sound of traffic, hydraulic horns on heavy vehicles, construction work and so on. These activities are rampant across all areas of Dhaka and other urban areas. These also cause air pollution. Poisonous lead, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulphur in the air are causing respiratory problems among adults and children. The rate of diseases like asthma, lung cancer, kidney damage, liver problems and various other diseases are on the rise. The prevalence of these diseases is causing immature death.

Different non-governmental organisations working on pollution maintain that there is an urgent need to check noise pollution. The government needs to take effective measures to stop environment and noise pollution before it severely affects health and life expectancy of our future generations.

Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.


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