KARACHI - Degraded by Noise Pollution

By Mehdi, Mohammed Raza | Economic Review, September 1999 | Go to article overview

KARACHI - Degraded by Noise Pollution


Mehdi, Mohammed Raza, Economic Review


Hearing loss is the most obvious health threat posed by noise pollution

In today's world of scientific advancements, the menace of pollution seems to browbeat the discoveries and lingers on as a permanent irritation for the mankind the target sufferers remaining the urban dwellers.

Environmental pollution is the product of human settlement patterns and activities. The environmental quality of developing countries mega-cities experiencing urbanization like Calcutta, Bombay, Dhaka and Karachi is an issue of global concern.

The composition of vehicular traffic, which is responsible for noise and air pollution, is categorically different from those in the developed countries. Similarly distribution and pattern of urban land use which originate solid waste, waste water and noise are generally different from the developed world.

Such spatial difference in environmental quality, resulting from macro patternal of transportation and landuse, are legitimate themes of geographic inquiry, public policy and transportation engineering.

Noise pollution in the developing countries comparatively a less attended area in the contemporary studies on sustainable development. Because of its less visible impact, particularly in developing countries, it occupies low level priority since other issues like waste water, solid waste, air pollution etc. has to be attended first. Nevertheless, its impact and importance cannot be ignored.

In Pakistan's contemporary researches, the inter-relationship of noise pollution vis-a-vis urban parameters seems to be left unaddressed.

Karachi selected as one of the complex metropolitan cities of the developing countries - reveals that there is a lot of common ground in mega-cities of developing countries. The environmental problems faced by Karachi, Calcutta, Manila and Kanpur have many similarities.

Therefore, research done for one mega-city would be helpful for other mega-cities of development countries.

Effective land use and transport planning can be of great significance in providing infrastructure systems that would prove to be more sustainable forms of development. Developing countries have an advantage of having an opportunity to plan and design a balanced system which avoid some of the mistakes made in other countries where the downstream impacts were not fully understood.

Major source of noise pollution in the metropolitan cities in the vehicular traffic. Its composition and volumes are responsible for the magnitude and nature of noise pollution. On the other hand, adjacent land use patterns and distribution determine the levels of tolerance. Predicting the levels of noise through quantifying traffic and land use parameters could benefit in urban planning, environmental management, public policy and controlling the damaging impact of noise pollution.

Focus on Karachi: Noise pollution problems are a part of the process of urbanization. In Karachi they have been aggravated by inappropriate erection and or segregation of the sectors which generate noise e.g the airport, the industrial units etc. There are a number of reasons for the emission of noise from traffic in Karachi, chief among them being increase in the number of vehicles, traffic jams, defective roads, defective vehicles and above all the human factor which is our society is reflected by inherent impatience under social pressures giving rise to such acts as blowing of horns unnecessarily.

The most important non-industrial sources identified in Karachi are: vehicular traffic, loudspeakers, radio, TV, record players etc. …

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