Noise pollution in Bangladesh
Noise pollution, also known sound pollution unwanted or excessive sound that can have deleterious effects on human health and environmental quality. In Bangladesh noise pollution is a major health hazard. In fact, due to noise pollution, millions of people in Bangladesh are exposed to a number of health risks - from deafness to heart attack.
Noise pollution continues to pose a major health threat for Bangladesh, especially in cities and particularly in Dhaka city. People of Dhaka city mostly suffer from the bad effects of noise pollution.
Sound waves are vibrations of air molecules carried from a noise source to the ear. Sound is typically described in terms of the loudness (amplitude) and the pitch (frequency) of the wave. Loudness (also called sound pressure level, or SPL) is measured in logarithmic units called decibels (dB). The normal human ear can detect sounds that range between 0 dB (hearing threshold) and about 140 dB, with sounds between 120dB and 140 dB causing pain (pain threshold).
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), generally 60 dB sound can make a man deaf temporarily and 100 dB sound can cause complete deafness. But the noise of any busy street in Dhaka has been estimated at 60 to 80 dB, with the sound of vehicles being 95 dB, loud speakers 90 to 100 dB, mills and factories 80 to 90 dB, restaurants and cinema halls 75 to 90 dB, festivals 85 to 90 dB, scooter or motorbike 87 to 92 dB and trucks and buses 92 to 94 dB. But the desired sound measure is 25 dB in the bedroom, 40 dB in the dining or drawing room, 35-40 dB in the office, 30-40 dB in the class room, 35-40 dB in the library, 20-35 dB in hospital, 40-60 dB in a restaurant and 45 dB in the city at night. When the sound exceeds this limit, there is noise pollution.
Sources of noise pollution
v Transportation systems are the main sources of noise pollution in urban areas.
v Construction of buildings, highways and streets cause a lot of noise due to the usage of air compressors, bulldozers, loaders, dump trucks, and pavement breakers.
v Industrial noise also adds to the already unfavorable state of noise pollution.
v Loud speakers, plumbing, boilers, generators, air conditioners, fans and vacuum cleaners add to the existing noise pollution.
v In most of the developing countries, poor urban planning also play a vital role. Congested houses, large families sharing small space, fight over parking, frequent fights over basic amenities leads to noise pollution.
Effects on health
Noise pollution can damage physiological and psychological health.
v Hearing problems; it can lead to temporary or permanent deafness.
v High blood pressure, stress related illness and productivity loss are the problems related to noise pollution.
v Loud noise can certainly hamper your sleeping pattern and may lead to irritable and uncomfortable situations.
v It can also cause memory loss, severe depression and panic attack.
Effects on wildlife
Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound.
Species that depend on mating calls to reproduce are often unable to hear these calls due to excessive man made noise. As a result, they are unable to reproduce and cause declining populations.
Pets react more aggressively in households where there is constant noise.
In nature, animals may suffer from hearing loss, which makes them easy prey and leads to dwindling populations. Others become inefficient at hunting, disturbing the balance of the eco-system.
Solution for noise pollution
v Planting bushes and trees in and around sound generating sources in an effective solution for noise pollution.
v Regular servicing and tuning of automobiles can effectively reduce the noise pollution.
v Buildings can be designed with suitable noise absorbing material for the walls, windows and ceilings.
v Workers should be provided with equipment such as ear plug and earmuffs for hearing protection.
v Similar to automobiles, lubrication of the machinery and servicing should be done to minimize noise generation.
v Regulation should be imposed to restrict the usage of play loudspeaker in crowded areas and public places.
v Factories and industries should be located far from the residential areas.
v Social awareness programs should be taken up to educate the public about the causes and effects of noise pollution.
Noise pollution is a serious and neglected issue in Dhaka, and throughoutBangladesh. It is time for NGOs, the media, and the Government of Bangladesh to work together to reduce the problem, and increase the quality of life in this country. As many of the sources of noise pollution are unnecessary and could be reduced fairly easily and at little cost, there is noexcuse for further delaying on action.