Excessively high noise levels are not merely a public nuisance, they are a health hazard.
And while there are noise laws in place — the acceptable volume is 55 decibels for daytime and 45db for night time in residential urban areas — regrettably, there is a lack of enforcement of these matters.
Extravagant celebrations held without permission routinely inconvenience people by being too loud, and what is worse, the hosts of these events often refuse to cooperate with anyone who complains about the noise.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Environment found that in many parts of the capital, noise levels were as high as 120-130 decibels — nearly double the permissible limit.
These findings are nothing short of alarming — sound levels up to 100dB can cause complete deafness.
It is not enough to rely upon the civic sense of the people to keep the sound levels down — clearly that has not worked, and most people are not even aware that there is such a thing as noise pollution.
Countries like Switzerland which have extremely high standards of living, enforce stringent noise laws, and take noise-related complaints very seriously.
Bangladesh has a long way to go in this regard, but the first step is for people to know that they indeed have rights, and that complaints can be made to the police if neighbours are making excessive noise.
It is a fact that noise pollution is making us sicker, and as such it is a matter of public health that we need to take more seriously.
To that end, noise laws need to be enforced, and violators should be dealt with accordingly.
Dhaka Tribune, January 24, 2018