Designated silent zones alone will not be enough to tackle the noise pollution problem
Reports of Dhaka’s overwhelming noise pollution problem will come as no surprise to the city’s residents. Be it from traffic, construction sites, or mics announcing a variety of events and programs, it is quite impossible for inhabitants to escape the onslaught of polluting sounds.
A recent report has found that pollution levels in Dhaka have exceeded three times the acceptable amount, putting an estimated 5 million people at risk. It results in a host of health issues among all groups ceaselessly exposed to noise pollution, and puts children in particular in harm’s way. Prolonged exposure, as Dhaka inhabitants are likely to experience, can even result in permanent problems like irreversible noise induced hearing loss (NIHL).
In that regard, it is commendable that silent zones have been declared in all nine city corporations, chiefly near hospitals, schools, and administrative areas, and several agencies such as the Department of Environment and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority have agreed to work together to maintain these areas. A new law to ensure these silent zones remain noise pollution free is also in the works.
However, the question remains as to how effectively these plans can be implemented and maintained in the long run. Designated silent zones alone will not be enough to tackle the noise pollution problem, especially if the sources of pollution are not identified and addressed. As such, to effectively and holistically solve Dhaka’s air pollution problem, its causes must be confronted in equal measure. This is crucial to turning Dhaka into a liveable city.