Responding to the letters, the prime minister’s personal secretary has written to the Department of Environment to take necessary action
Some students of Rayer Bazar High School, in Dhaka, have sought the prime minister’s intervention to address sound pollution in their neighbourhood.
In separate letters, on August 14, they said that noise pollution is a barrier to their studies; it not only affects their education, but also their health.
Abir Hossain, a tenth grader of the school, in his letter, said the students suffer because of severe noise pollution including vehicles honking, construction work, and music played at a high volume for celebrations. Such noises cause headaches, sleeping disorders, and other health problems; plus it distracts their attention from studying.
One of the school’s ninth graders, Imran Hossain Labu, in his letter, said: “We face problems in understanding math and many other topics while studying in school and at home. This is affecting our studies and health. I do face headaches and ear problems because of sound pollution.”
Responding to the letters, Tofazzal Hossain Mia, the prime minister’s personal secretary, on September 9, wrote to the Department of Environment to take necessary action.
Ziaul Haq, director of the Department of Air Quality Management, asked the Dhaka metropolitan director to investigate and take necessary initiatives using a mobile court.
Currently, the Department of Environment is trying to control noise pollution with its “coordinated and participatory program.”
Programs in action
The Director (ICT) of the Department of Environment, and Coordinated and Participatory Program Director Farid Ahmed said they are running awareness campaigns, about sound pollution, in educational institutions and the mass media.
The department has purchased sound level meters and sent them to the traffic police, BRTA, and offices within the Department of Environment—so that they can measure sound levels and take legal action as required, said Farid Ahmed.
The department’s Director General Dr Sultan Ahmed said they are undertaking a major project, in addition to its regular campaign program, to address sound pollution.
“We have received the letter from prime minister’s office [PMO] and the concerned department has already been asked to consider it seriously and take action,” said the department’s chief.
According to a survey released in June last year, sound pollution has reached its highest levels, 120-130 decibels (dB), at many points in Dhaka. This includes the highest noise level recorded, at Farmgate, at 130.2dB during daytime. Its lowest is 65.7dB at night.
According to Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2006, acceptable sound levels are 55dB for daytime – 6am to 9pm –and 45dB for night – 9pm to 6am – in residential areas; 50dB for daytime and 40dB for night in silent areas; 60dB for daytime and 50dB for night in mixed areas; 70dB for daytime and 60dB for night in commercial areas; and 75dB for daytime and 70dB for night in industrial areas.