Wednesday, 28 April 2010

City people exposed to serious sound pollution

City people exposed to serious sound pollution Children the worst victims
Sajia Afrin
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

Monday, 19 April 2010

Measures demanded to contain air pollution

Measures demanded to contain air pollution

Green activists on Saturday demanded immediate and effective measures to contain air pollution in the capital city as the concentration of dust has crossed the standard limit by five to ten times in the city air depending on the areas.

The green activists under the banner of Save Environment Movement formed a human chain in front of the office of Dhaka city mayor, Nagar Bhaban, to press home the demand.

Save Environment Movement chairman Abu Naser Khan, Nirapad Development Foundation chairman Ibnul Sayeed Rana, Save Environment Movement joint secretary Sagiruzzaman Shakik, Puran Dhaka Unnayan Forum president Nazimuddin and Bishwa Sahitya Kendra representative Mesbahuddin Suman were present on the occasion.

‘The Bangladeshi standard for the level of suspended particulate matter (air pollutant) in the residential areas is 200 micro gram per cubic metre. But the level touched 2000mg/m3 in different parts of the city,’ said Abu Naser Khan.

He said average dust concentration in the air of the capital varies from 1000 to 1200mg/m3 which is five to six times higher than the Bangladeshi standard and seven to eight times higher than the WHO standard. WHO sets SPM level in the commercial at 120mg/m3, he added.

‘Road digging, plying of uncovered sand-laden trucks and keeping construction materials open on the roadsides are the major causes of dust in the city, which are responsible for severe air pollution, posing health hazards to the city dwellers,’ he observed.

The green activists called on the government to formulate special policy to contain the steady increase in dust concentration in the city and to instruct all the authorities concerned to take strong measures to follow the respective rules while constructing building, digging roads and sweeping the roads.

Severe air pollution is threatening public health in the Dhaka city, they said.
Due to the excessive dust in Dhaka’s air, people are falling victim to different complex diseases including tuberculosis, asthma, respiratory complications, bronchitis and other skin diseases, they observed.

Sweeping of the city roads during daytime is another reason for increase in dust.
According to the city corporation rules, garbage collection and its disposal should be done before 8:00am but the rule is not duly followed.