The rampant pasting of posters and graffiti scrawling is now spoiling the panoramic beauty of the port city Chittagong.
The urban planners attributed the visual pollution to the lack of regular monitoring by the city corporation authorities.
According to the city planners, visual pollution refers to the impact of pollution that impairs one’s ability to enjoy a vista or view.
Quite diverse in terms in their shape, size, color and message, the graffiti and posters have their ubiquitous presence both in the alleys and the thoroughfares of the port city.
Be it a house of worship or an educational institute or a flyover, nothing has been spared from the pervasion of the ugly posters and graffiti.
Anything under the sun can be found on the posters and graffiti--invoking a genie, promising to cure baldness just in an hour, curing venereal disease and impotency, surefire ways to success in examinations, job vacancy notice, political felicitations, Urs (religious congregation) and etc.
“There was a time when we used to come across posters and graffiti only during electoral campaigns. But things have changed now and the public nuisance continues unabated everywhere all the year round,” said Muhammad Rashidul Hasan, assistant professor at the department of Urban and Regional Planning of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET).
What the law says
According to the Graffiti Writing and Poster Sticking Control Act, 2012, unauthorized poster sticking and drawing graffiti is a penal offence.
The act allows city corporations and local government authorities to designate places where posters can be pasted or graffiti can be drawn.Individuals and organisations willing to use those spots will have to pay stipulated fees and abide by some conditions.
As per the Act, the punishment for illegal poster sticking or drawing of graffiti is a minimum fine of Tk5,000 to a maximum fine of Tk10,000 and default of such may result in simple imprisonment of 15 days.
Furthermore, if any beneficiary or privilege-holder of such publication breaks any provision of this Act, such persons shall be subjected to a fine of minimum Tk10,000 to a maximum of Tk50,000 default of which shall result in simple imprisonment for 30 days and such privilege-holder shall also bear the cost of erasing such graffiti and/or removing such posters.
According to the law, mobile courts can be conducted to hold summary trials of the offenders.
“Soon after taking over the charge of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC), the incumbent mayor successfully removed all the illegal billboards of the city. The residents appreciated the unprecedented initiative for restoring beauty to the city. But the pervasive posters and graffiti are spoiling the city. The city corporation authorities must swing into action and enforce the relevant law in this regard,” said Architect Ashique Imran Chowdhury.
The CCC mayor AJM Nasir Uddin announced that the corporation was going to fix spots in each ward of the city for posters in exchange for a fee.
“We are going to crack down on the unauthorized poster sticking in the city. There is a specific law in this regard and we are going to slap fines on offenders. We will fix spots in each ward for pasting posters in the city,” said the city mayor while inaugurating a mural at Jamal Khan area of the city on March 7.