The extent of noise pollution is nearly two times higher than the human tolerance in the Dhaka city, causing various types of physical and mental disorder to the people, a survey report has revealed.
According to the survey conducted by Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA), the highest level of noise has been recorded at 108.9 decibels in front of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, followed by 105.5 decibels in Purana Paltan area.
Releasing the survey report at a press conference at its Kalabagan office, the POBA placed a set of recommendations including proper enforcement of the existing law, imposing a ban on high frequency horns and a media campaign.
The environment advocacy organisation also called upon the government to conduct mobile courts, hang up signboards with restriction on horn usage and take necessary steps to inspire people to follow the rules and regulations.
POBA General Secretary Md Abdus Sobhan, Joint Secretary Lalin Chowdhury and Assistant Secretary Architect Shahin Aziz attended the press briefing, among others.
Abdus Sobhan said the safe level of noise is considered between 50 and 75 decibels given several categories of areas including quiet, residential, commercial and industrial parts.
“The extent of harsh noise in every type of area is nearly two times higher than the standard level of 50-75 decibels,” he said.
Shockingly, the decibel levels remain high in the middle of night, Mr Sobhan said, adding that the amount is more than double in the residential areas during night, when vehicles move at high speed.
The study data was collected from the city’s 45 spots including Airport, Mohakhali, Farmgate, Banglamotor, Shahbagh, Purana Paltan, New Market, Kolabagan and Dhaka University in the last month (January).
The government framed noise pollution guidelines in 2006. As per the guidelines, quiet areas include hospital, educational institution, office and surrounding areas within 100 meter radius, where honking horn is prohibited.
Mr Abdus Sobhan said the degree of noise pollution in quiet areas was recorded at between 83.3 and 104.4 decibels, much higher than the standard of 50 decibels. The figure was recorded 84-100 decibels in April 2014.
Some 104.4 decibels of noise was recorded in front of Eden College, categorised as a quiet area, he informed.
Quoting a 2013 survey by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), he said one third of the country’s people have hearing problems at various levels while 9.6 percent of the total population are audibly impaired.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), long term exposure to noise level at 60 decibels harms one’s hearing ability while more than 100 decibels might permanently damage it, Mr Sobhan said.
Dr Lalin Chowdhury said constant noise pollution damages the in-ear tissues, which poses threat to one’s psychological balance in addition to health hazard.