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Impact of sound and noise pollution: The Encounter

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Thursday, 01 December 2011


Speakers at a seminar on "Sound and Noise Pollution" sponsored by Beximco Pharmaceuticals said increased noise from the increasing traffic exposes our children to deafness. Even noise from radio, TV, cassette players and loudspeakers, as well as from mills and factories can cause serious health hazards. Prof. Pran Gopal Datta, vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) said this while presenting a paper at the seminar. Loud screams may also prove dangerous for children as it can cause physiological and psychological problems like annoyance, aggression, hypertension, high stress level, obsession, headaches, loss of hearing, sleeplessness, heart disease and neurotic ailments, said the ENT expert. The Society for Assistance of Hearing Impaired Children (SAHIC) conducted a year long survey at 21 spots in Dhaka City to find out the impact of noise pollution on people. The survey showed that the hearing ability of 76.9 percent of those surveyed had been damaged from continuous noise pollution. Noise pollution is a type of energy pollution in which distracting, irritating, or damaging sounds are freely audible. A sound may be considered noise pollution if it disturbs any natural process or causes human harm, even if it does not occur on a regular basis. "Currently the level of sound pollution in cities and residential suburbs is 80 decibels on an average. It is between 80 and 90 decibels at the Shahbagh intersection and the Farmgate and Mohakhali rail crossing," said Dr Datta. "But a person can endure the sound level of 90 decibels for only half an hour. If any person remains exposed to the level of sound any longer than that, he/she will experience loss of hearing.”



Noise pollution occurs not only on roads from car honking but also from the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers by vendors and others. But despite being an ongoing issue since the 1970s we have ignored it as a problem. Yet noise pollution in Dhaka and Chittagong has become a cause for alarm. Enactment of a Noise Pollution Control Act in 2006 failed to bring any relief to the people and the menace continues to haunt city dwellers.


With noise levels well above the WHO safe limit of 70 decibels, the consistently high level of noise is affecting the learning ability of children between the ages of 2 and 5. Experiments by environmentalists and psychologists have found that children living in noisy places are poorer at making auditory discriminations and are, therefore, poorer at languages and verbal expressions. In general people find sound annoying when the level in the community over 24 hours exceeds 65dBA.


Source: theindependentbd



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