ISLAMABAD - Nowhere in the world residential areas and airports are as near as they are in Pakistan as airports near residential areas are the biggest reason of noise pollution in urban areas that is equally dangerous for plants as it is for other living beings.

Prof. Dr. Azra Yasmin, a renowned environmental scientist and head of Fatima Jinnah Women University’s Department of Environmental Studies, informed this while presiding a symposium here on Friday.

The symposium on “Effective Measures to Eradicate Noise Pollution” was organised by Human Appeal International-Pakistan. The guest speaker of the symposium was Shahid Mehmood, a PhD scholar and Research Associate of Aired Agriculture University Rawalpindi.

In her remarks, Dr Azra Yasmin said, “Noise pollution is not even considered as a noise pollution in our society because it is not a tangible form of pollution.” She revealed “140+ dBA level of noise can cause damage to ear drum but we all know that there is also a ‘middle ear’ which can be effected by noise of 85+ dBA level of noise.”

Latest research in Canada has revealed that noise pollution is as much a danger for plants as it is for other living beings. It is now for the betterment of our collective environment that we start taking it seriously, she added.

Dr Azra further maintained that it would not be appropriate to seek legislation from government in order to curtail noise pollution. “What we lack here is urban planning. We have built our cities in a wrong way. Nowhere in the world residential areas and airports are as near as they are in Pakistan. Now it is a known fact that aircrafts produce the heaviest of noise. So in such situations we need to take steps on individual basis.”

Shahid Mehmood told the hall-packed audience that noise 140 dBA (decibel) level of sound can cause serious health issues to a person’s health. “Prolonged exposure to high level noise(s) of 140 dBA+ frequency pattern leads to hearing loss and also causes heart function to decrease with problem in arterial blood pressure and vaso-constriction of peripheral blood vessels.”

Shahid Nazir from Human Appeal International added, “Noise affects sleep and work performance.” Shaheer Elahi from Human Resource Development Network (HRDN), endorsing Dr Azra’s stance of taking individual steps, said, “We can start from our offices by launching ‘Green Office Campaign. At the same time we can use modern tools of social media to mobilize youth and also can pool-in in existing campaigns.”

Durre Shawar, MSc Environmental Sciences student, said, “Silence zones should be established and fine on unnecessary use of horns must be implemented.” At the end Nisar Ahmed, Country Director Human Appeal International-Pakistan, concluded the session by saying “Charity begins at home, so let’s start from today and from our homes. Let’s commit that we will not tease anyone in our homes, offices, neighborhoods and anywhere with a loud noise.”