RAWALPINDI, April 14: Noise pollution in the city has increased to a dangerous level due to rapid commercialisation and floods of unfit vehicles, becoming one of the major causes of hypertension, depression and other psychological diseases among the residents, say experts.

The Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-EPA) measured noise level in the city and said it had reached 105 dB (decibels) against the permissible limit of 85 dB fixed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to Assistant Director Punjab-EPA Amin Mehmood, the noise level at Benazir Bhutto Road was 104 decibels due to rush of mostly unfit vehicles, rickshaws and commercial activities.

He said the average noise level in the city (daytime) was 105 decibels, adding hardly a few residential localities had the standard night noise level of 45 decibels. He said majority of the residential areas near commercial centres and busy roads had the night noise level of 75 decibels.

Electricity generators and CNG stations have added to the noise pollution. The engine noise of majority of vehicles coupled with horns is also compounding the situation, he added.

The inspectors of EPA-Punjab during this week booked 84 vehicles running without fitness certificates. “The traffic police and Regional Transport Authority (RTA) should take action against such vehicles,” the officials of the environment watchdog recommended.

According to Dr Sherin M. Yousufzai, a psychiatrist, exposure to noise was causing diseases like tinnitus, vertigo, deafness and cardiovascular impacts. “The common cause of noise pollution is depression and anxiety,” he said.

Dr Yousufzai said he was advising majority of his patients suffering from anxiety and depression to refrain from exposing to noise.

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