City people exposed to serious sound pollution Children the worst victims
The Dhaka city people, especially the children, are exposed to serious health hazards because of aggravating sound pollution, physicians and health activists said.
They said unabated use of hydraulic horns, noise produced by industries, mills and factories, aircraft, noise produced during construction work and excessive use of mobile phones and telephones are causing different types of health hazards.
Short hearing, heart ailments and high blood pressure are the major complications people are suffering from mostly because of sound pollution, they said.
The brain development of the children might well be hampered because of continuous noise pollution, they observed.
‘Due to high volume of sound, people are suffering from short hearing, high blood pressure and different kinds of cardiovascular diseases. Exposure to continuous sound above the tolerable level even may cause people to be easily irritable and permanently deaf,’ Mani Lal Aich Litu, ear, nose, throat specialist and surgeon of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told New Age.
He said sound above 80 decibel is very dangerous for hearing. ‘Ear cells may be damaged because of continuous exposure to high volume of sound while it may also cause short hearing,’ he said.
‘Children are the worst victims of sound pollution, particularly of the sound caused by television sets and rock music. It may lead to their permanent deafness,’ Litu said, adding, ‘Even foetus can also be affected with noise pollution.’
Around 150 people visit the ENT outdoor every day and one third of them come with problems in hearing, he said.
Litu said the employees of the call centres are another group who also suffer most from sound pollution as their job requires them to attend phone calls continuously. They do not get sufficient time for giving their ear rest, he said.
Sukumar Biswas, acting director of the department of environment at Dhaka divisional office, said noise pollution in the capital city has crossed the tolerable label because of the increased number of vehicles.
‘Bangladesh Road Transport Authority has to play an vital role in removing unfit vehicles from the city roads,’ he added.
He also said DoE cannot conduct drives regularly owing to acute shortage of manpower. ‘The noise pollution could have been controlled if the drives would be conducted regularly,’ Sukumar said.
Sarwar Kamal, cardiac vascular and thoracic surgeon of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, said the cardiovascular patients are seriously affected with high volume of sound. ‘Frequent exposure to sound above the tolerable level of sound could be dangerous for patients with high blood pressure,’ he said.
The expert said the students gradually lose their capability to concentrate on their studies as they become fatigued, inattentive and suffer from headache because of sound pollution.
Sound is among the 12 factors responsible for environmental pollution and which cause 30 types of serious diseases, according to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Bank researches.
According to the Noise Pollution (control) Act, 2006, tolerable noise level in the Dhaka city is 50 decibels at daytime while 40 decibels at night in the silent zones that include areas near hospitals and educational institutions. The tolerable limit of sound in the residential areas is 55 decibels at daytime and 45 decibels at night while it is 60 decibels at daytime and 50 decibels at night in the industrial areas.
According to a survey conducted by the Work for Better Bangladesh Trust on April 27 and April 28, 2009, noise level measured at different parts of the city in different time was between 77 to 105 decibels.
Noise level was measured 105 decibel at Shahbagh (silent zone) at around 4:00pm where the country’s two prominent hospitals are located.
Another study conducted by the Work for Better Bangladesh Trust and the Asia Pacific University conducted in 2007 measured the sound level at 101 decibels the in Dhanmandi residential area, 86 decibels in the BIRDEM area and 82 decibels in front of the Viquarunnisa Noon School and College on Bailey Road.
Form The Daily New Age