Dhaka city’s excessively high noise levels are more than just a nuisance to the public -- they are a downright health hazard.
Busy areas like Farmgate, Shahbagh, and Mohakhali bus stand routinely experience noise levels ranging from 80 to 110dB, which far exceed the limit that the human ear is comfortable with.
It is no wonder, then, that the Department of Environment has found that over a tenth of the population in Bangladesh has suffered hearing loss due to noise pollution.
Most developed nations have learned the value of keeping noise levels down, which is why laws are enforced regarding blaring horns and using loudspeakers in public, noise shields are used along train tracks, engines are routinely serviced, and careful measures are taken to contain the noise during construction work.
Bangladesh has nothing of the sort in place, which is why experts think a third of our population could develop hearing-related complications in less than a decade.
It is time to turn the volume down, and for that, it is not enough to rely on the civic sense of the public, which clearly has not worked so far, not to mention the fact that most people are not even aware there is such a thing as noise pollution.
The first step is for people to know that they indeed have rights, and that if they are being inconvenienced by extravagant celebrations or other loud noises, complaints can be made to the police.
It is up to the authorities to start by strictly enforcing the laws that are already in place.
Pervasive noise pollution is making us sicker as a nation, and it is time to take action before things get worse.