Silent protest against Bangladesh’s loud horns sparks noisy support

Mominur Rahman Royal stands at a busy intersection with a yellow placard with the Bengali rhyme “Horn Hudai, Bajay Bhudai” meaning “Only an idiot honks a horn unnecessarily.” (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2019

Silent protest against Bangladesh’s loud horns sparks noisy support

  • One-man crusade to reduce unnecessary honking in one of the world’s noisiest cities,
  • In Dhaka, the sounds of honking can reach 110 decibels during peak hours

DHAKA: Bangladeshi Mominur Rahman Royal is stopping traffic — literally.
The 36-year-old is on a one-man crusade to reduce unnecessary honking in one of the world’s noisiest cities, where the cacophony of vehicle horns in heavy traffic is as loud as a rock concert.
On the weekend, he stands at a busy intersection near his home holding a yellow placard with the Bengali rhyme “Horn Hudai, Bajay Bhudai” meaning “Only an idiot honks a horn unnecessarily.”
“This is my silent protest against the nuisance. I just try to deliver the message to the people,” he said as cars, buses and trucks rumbled noisily past him.
Since starting his campaign four years ago, the graphic designer said he has received overwhelming support.
“People on their way home stop by to stand by my side, silently holding my placards on the road even though they don’t know me. This is a sign of a positive change.”
Photos of his silent protest have been shared thousands of times on social media, attracting many supportive comments.
According to the World Health Organization, the maximum noise level that can be tolerated by humans for eight hours without some loss of hearing over time is 85 decibels.
In Dhaka, home to 18 million people and more than a million registered motor vehicles, the sounds of honking can reach 110 decibels during peak hours, according to a 2017 environment department study.
Heavy construction and loudhailers used for political and religious events add to the din that has contributed to Dhaka being regularly ranked as one of the world’s least livable cities.
Around 12 percent of Bangladesh’s 165 million population suffer from hearing problems due to noise pollution, the study found.
“The number of traffic (policemen) coming to the hospital with hearing problems every week has become a major concern for us,” Bangladesh police spokesman Sohel Rana said.
The government has passed anti-honking laws with culprits facing up to six months’ imprisonment.
But the rules are weakly enforced and even illegal ear-splitting police and ambulance horns are used by ordinary drivers.
Royal, who sometimes campaigns after work also, is worried his hearing will suffer due to the amount of time he spends standing at intersections.
But the young father said he would keep going until noise pollution reduces, adding that he was “taking a hit for a greater cause.”
“I strongly believe this abnormal behavior (of honking) will change one day and we will be able to leave a better Dhaka for our future generations.”


Heavy rain across Cairo cause chaos as residents use bulldozer to escape floods

A video was circulated over social media showing a bulldozer carrying people to help them get to the other side of the road that was flooded by the rain. (Screenshot)
Updated 23 October 2019

Heavy rain across Cairo cause chaos as residents use bulldozer to escape floods

  • Flooding on roads heading to Cairo’s International Airport caused severe delays for flight passengers
  • Authorities in Cairo deployed several vacuum trucks to clear the roads

DUBAI: Heavy rain hit Cairo on Tuesday resulting in floods across the city, leaving residence stranded.  

A video was circulated over social media showing a bulldozer carrying people to help them get to the other side of the road that was flooded by the rain.

 

Scenes of large pools of water were spread among Cairo’s districts including Heliopolis, Nasr city and Salah Salem.

Pictures of people swimming in the puddles were shared on social media. Other images showed floating boxed packages while others pretended to fish in the streams of water gushing down the streets.

 

The weather also caused flight delays, and heavy traffic across the city’s busiest roads, Egypt local press reported.

Flooding on roads heading to Cairo’s International Airport caused severe delays for flight passengers.

In response to the weather conditions, EgyptAir delayed departure time for flights until the maximum number of passengers arrive at the airport.

“The airline has decided to delay the departure of some flights due to the heavy rains, until the arrival of the maximum amount of passengers booked for these flights, to preserve the rights of our customers,” EgyptAir said in a statement.

The flood caused Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to give schools and universities in Cairo a day off on Wednesday, as more rain is expected.

In response to the prime minister’s announcement, Egyptian influencer and university student, Mohamed Tarek, shared a video on Facebook expressing his joy after hearing the news.

Authorities in Cairo deployed several vacuum trucks to clear the roads.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority had sent out weather warnings earlier this week, with expectations of weather disruptions across the country from Monday to Friday.