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Campaign to Increase Awareness Among Motor Vehicle Drivers to Avoid Unnecessary Honking

After air pollution, the capital Dhaka has risen to number one in the list of top cities in the world in terms of noise pollution. Not only in the capital, but noise pollution is increasing in an alarming rate around the country. One of the main causes of noise pollution in Dhaka city is honking from motor vehicles. Excessive noise pollution is caused by the unnecessary honking, especially when stuck in traffic congestion. According to the Noise Pollution (Control) Rules, 2006, hospitals, educational institutions, administrative areas, etc. are silent zones. Despite this, noise level is double comparing to the standard level. There is no alternate of raising awareness among motor vehicle drivers to reduce motor vehicle induced noise pollution.

On March 27, 2022, at 11.00 am at Shahbagh, an awareness campaign was organized jointly by Save the Environment Movement (POBA), Rayer Bazar High School, Dhaka Ideal Cadet School, Life Serve Bangladesh, The Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh (IWB), Carfree Cities Alliance Bangladesh on “Avoid Unnecessary Honking to Protect Hearing and Public Health” and speakers opined such in the campaign. Flowers and leaflets were distributed among the motor vehicle drivers from the camping to motivate them to avoid unnecessary honking.

by Abu Naser Khan, Chairman, Save the Environment Movement (POBA) presided over the campaign and Ziaur Rahman, Senior Project Manager, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust moderated it. Speakers of the program were MA Mannan Monir, Founder, Dhaka Ideal cadet School; ANM MashumBillahBhuyan, Policy Officer, The Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh. Also, officials from Life Service Bangladesh, Rayer Bazar High School, The Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh (IWB), CarfreeCities Alliance Bangladesh, Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust were present in the campaign.

Abu Naser Khan, Chairman of the Save the Environment Movement (POBA), said noise pollution causes hearing loss as well as various problems including high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and mental issues. Children are particularly at risk because the effects of noise pollution on them can be permanent. Excessive noise exposure of pregnant women increases the risk of deafness in children. At presentnoise level in Dhaka is the highest due to unnecessary and excessive horns of motor vehicles and he city dwellers are the victims of horrible noise pollution.

ANM MashumBillahBhuyan, Policy Officer, The Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh, said that according to the Noise Pollution (Control) Rules, 2006, in case of producing more noise than the prescribed level or breach of law, the authorized officials can seize the source or equipment of the noise. If convicted, the first offense carries a penalty of one month's imprisonment or a fine of five thousand taka or both, and the second offense carries a six-month imprisonment or a fine of 10,000 taka or both. But due to lack of proper enforcement of the law, noise pollution is on the rise.

MA Mannan Monir, Founder of Dhaka Ideal Cadet School, said that besides enforcing the law, there is a need to raise awareness among the people about controlling noise pollution. Drivers need to be educatedspecially to avoid unnecessary honking. Because of the honking, the driver himself, his children and all his relatives are suffering from the negative impacts of noise pollution.

The campaign raised several recommendations such as - avoid unnecessary honking in traffic jams, not to honk in front of hospitals, educational institutions, to obey the Noise (Control) Rules, 2006, not to use banned hydraulic horns in vehicles, to respect the no-horn sign, to avoidon street parking, etc.