Noise pollution takes serious turn
Golam Mostafa Jibon: Despite the ban, the rampant use of hydraulic horns by different types of vehicles is going on in the capital that leads to noise pollution and causes serious health hazard.
Ignoring the court directive, unscrupulous transport owners and workers are using illegal hydraulic horns rampantly.
City dwellers are also upset with the excessive noise created from hydraulic horns used by different transports even launches. The biggest victims of noise pollution are patients, children, elderly and traffic members.
Experts said, if the noise is more than the standard, it can threaten the physical and mental condition of people. So publicity should be increased highlighting the harmful aspects of hydraulic horn and noise pollution. Besides, effective measures should be taken to stop this horn completely. It can be seen on the ground that the residents of Dhaka are under the grip of terrible noise pollution.
Though, a few number of drivers is being fined due to use of hydraulic horns, mostly are remained out of legal action.
In this case, the vehicles of public and private institutions including private cars, motorcycle and Laguna are using this horn without any resistance. Even if there are schools, hospitals, mosques-temples-churches nearby, bus-private car drivers continue to honk their horns. There is a directive from the High Court to stop this horn to prevent noise pollution. But in reality, the directive is not being complied. Health experts said, the residents of the city are suffering from various diseases due to noise pollution.
According to the Noise Pollution (Control) Rules 2006, 55 decibels (a unit of measurement of sound intensity) during the day (6:00 am to 9:00 pm) and 45 decibels at night (9:00 pm to 6:00 am) in residential areas and 50 decibels during the day and 40 decibels at night in quiet areas, 60 decibels during the day in mixed areas, 50 decibels at night, 70 decibels during the day and 60 decibels at night in commercial areas and 75 decibels during the day and 70 decibels at night in industrial areas have remained scheduled. But the tolerable level of noise should be 40 decibels to 50 decibels. The average noise level in Dhaka city has reached 95 decibels due to use of hydraulic horns violating the court order.
As a result, from children to the elderly, even common people and traffic officials are at risk of health especially nose, ear and throat. According to the latest UN report, Dhaka is at the top of the world in terms of noise pollution. Rajshahi is in fourth place.
According to World Health Organization guidelines, the tolerable level of sound intake for a healthy person is 40 decibels to 50 decibels. However, this level is 119 decibels in Dhaka and 103 decibels in Rajshahi. But some areas of Dhaka city generate several times more noise than the prescribed standards. Due to the high level of noise, people suffer from different diseases including insomnia, headache, deafness and heart disease. The worst sufferers are the sick, children and the elderly.
Experts said, five categories of areas have been identified under the Noise Pollution Control Rules 2006. Noise standards have been set in these areas. No person or organization shall exceed the maximum noise level in any area. But the level of noise pollution in the capital is increasing day by day due to lack of enforcement of laws and regulations. There is no substitute for drivers’ awareness to prohibit the use of hydraulic horns.
The government should ensure that such horns are manufactured in the country. Besides, those are imported and used in vehicles. Apart from buses, trucks, motorcycle and private car drivers should also be forced to connect a tolerable level of horn to their vehicles. And awareness campaign should be done in newspaper, TV and radio to increase awareness.
Ramzan Ali, Driver of Akash Paribahan said, “Not only my bus but also most of the buses running in the capital are equipped with hydraulic horns. We use this horn randomly, but traffic police don’t obstruct us. If mobile court is set up, then we are forced to face lawsuit or fine. Otherwise, we can use it randomly without any obstacle.”
Faisal Arefin, a student of Jagannath University, is working on public awareness to ban hydraulic horns. He said, despite the ban, hydraulic horns are still being used. Even its import and sale cannot be prevented by some invisible force. Whereas the tolerable level of audible sound for humans is 40 decibels, but currently the hydraulic horn standard spreads up to 120 decibels. Due to which many problems including deafness, high blood pressure are occurring in common people. Although, environmentalists have taken various initiatives from time to time, the noise pollution continues to increase gradually as the state is not taking strict action in this regard.
Nose, ear, throat specialist Dr. Imran Khan said, “Excessive noise is a serious risk to the human body. Loud noise can also cause mental and physical problems. Also people will suffer from deafness due to noise pollution. Apart from this, there may be problems of heart disease including loss of appetite, increased blood pressure, inability to concentrate on work, ringing in the ears. Noise pollution can sometimes cause serious damage to children’s ears. Besides, due to loud noise, children can get scared and suffer from mental problems.”
Chairman of Atmospheric Pollution Study Center (CAPS) and Head of Department of Environmental Science at Stamford University Kamruzzaman Majumdar said, “The noise level should be 50 decibels during the day, but the noise level is 90 decibels at that time. Roadside noise pollution is high. Where there are no roads there is no pollution. The main source of noise pollution is car and bike horns. Although hydraulic horns are prohibited by law, those are being used everywhere.
Legally, vehicles of national importance, including ambulances, fire service vehicles, have jurisdiction over them.
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