Summaries of Newspaper Articles
Action against Noise Pollution Overdue
The Financial Express
Monday, January 18, 2010
The article reports that there is a draft for noise pollution control law that the government has not yet paid enough importance to in spite of its urgency. The law proposes a fine of Taka 10,000 and a maximum imprisonment of six months for producing noise higher than the permissible limits.
The Society for Assistance of Hearing Impaired Children (SAHIC) conducted a sample survey over a year long survey on 21 spots of Dhaka city. 76.9% of the people covered in the survey had their hearing damaged due to sound pollution.
Another survey on 20 spots conducted by a private university and an NGO reveals that the sound level at residential areas with academic institutions and hospitals are alarmingly high at 75decibles compared to the permissible level of 45decibles. Near the Oxford International School in Dhanmondi it was 86decibles and near Birdem Hospital and Viqarunnessa Noon School it was 76decibles. At the exclusive residential area at Kylanpur it is 80decibles and in some areas the condition is worse off.
Noise pollution can cause blood pressure, palpitation, loss of concentration, headache, irritability, insomnia and other physical or mental sickness. The article also mentions that the major sources of noise pollution is the ceaseless honking, indiscriminate use of loud speakers by vendors and others and industrial activities in residential areas.
A comprehensive legislation and its attentive enforcement can help bring relief to the citizen of Dhaka.
Down in the Dumps
Syed Zain Al-Mahmood
The Daily Star
July 23, 2010
Dhaka has a waste disposal problem of biblical proportions. Every day the nearly 11 million people of Dhaka city produce around 3,500 tons of solid waste. Dhaka City Corporation, which is understaffed and cash strapped, can only collect half of the garbage while the rest is left to rot in the heat and humidity in different parts of the capital. Matuail is Dhaka's garbage dump - a rotting, stinking mountain of waste. The majority of the trash that does get collected ends up at the massive Matuail dump, a 50-acre pile of debris that is already nearing capacity. According to Waste Concern (a Bangladeshi NGO), 80 percent of the city's waste is comprised of organic matter, and the rotten garbage releases copious amounts of methane - a greenhouse gas 20 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.
The authorities can be criticized for dumping all these wastes on open landfill as the release of harmful gases are causing pollution and creating health hazards. The article also holds up the story of a family, like many others, who depend on this trash as a source of food and recyclables. Such families are severely vulnerable to health risks. Moreover, seeking to open landfill dumping on the two sites of this mega-city, Matuail and Aminbazar is not a sustainable solution as both the sites are nearing capacity.
However, social entrepreneurs (like Waste Concern) today are looking towards waste as a resource. The transformation of trash to fertilizer is solving two problems at once. This way a value is added to the waste itself and is being used to address the need of farmers to get a cheap organic way to support crops and reinvigorate their top soil. It also gives a formal employment to the ‘rag pickers’ of the city.
Waste Concern initially set up a number of community-based composting centres in the city and launched a fleet of rickshaw vans taking waste to the collection centres from households that pay a small fee to have their overflowing bins emptied. Soon, the “rag pickers” of Dhaka were getting formal employment. The first plant at Bhulta, near Narayangonj, has opened, handling 130 tonnes a day, and three more are planned.
Sustainable Environment: Challenges Ahead
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