Jahangirnagar University urban planning professor Akter Mahmud said that any activity such as one that created inconvenience for another was a public nuisance and was taking place everywhere on a regular basis in Bangladesh.
He said that any obstacle by anyhow, including parking a car or setting up any structure on the road or on the footpath, hampered public movement, was very common in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country and this was harming public health and causing suffering to the people, Akter Mahmud said.
The urban planning teacher said that many cities in the world have developed a system of street management appointing particular persons for monitoring such nuisance created by the people and to ensure better services.
The core responsibility of the ‘street manager’ would be to respond to minor problems of the dwellers living beside the road and ensure quick response to any emergencies. If there was a necessity of punishment, the manager would contact with the local magistrate, he said.
In many cases, local people did not get response from the law enforcement agencies as police considered them as minor crime, which only increased public nuisance. Street manager could solve them in cooperation with a magistrate, Akter said.
He said that in any densely populated city like Dhaka the people as well as the authority created public nuisance much than the city with less population.
He said that as Dhaka was a densely populated city having scarcity of common spaces and facilities, it is beset with public nuisance.
Misuse of the facilities also very much common in Bangladesh, he said.
‘No need of law but a separate bylaw under the Local Government Law, incorporating all kinds of public nuisance is important to tackle the everday inconveniences or nuisances,’ he said.
Akter Mahmud observed that smoking publicly, a serious public nuisance, was reduced after the law was framed and punishment for violators was ensured.
Following the way the government could incorporated all types of public nuisances under the bylaw keeping punitive actions both in the forms of fine and imprisonment.
‘Specifically, identification of public nuisances bylaws, education about them and its enforcement are needed to stop public nuisance in a city,’ Akter said.
He also said that the existing laws in the country are also not been implemented for different reasons. He said that community people have important role to play in stopping public nuisances as they were the ultimate victims of these minor crimes.
He also observed that public nuisances spiralled out of control, as there was no actual community in Dhaka.
Public nuisances in most cases affect community people so they should maintain some common norms for them for their own benefit.
The people in the city lack civic knowledge as they mostly came from villages in the recent times. If one looks at the city drains, one would find different types of wastes. It is a better example for everyone to understand the civic knowledge the city people must possess and what types of nuisances they could create if they lacked that knowledge, he said.
He said that services provided by the city agencies and professionals, have a lot to do with reduction of such public nuisances.
For example, he said that professionals should not allow glass as a material for building which could create nuisance for others.
He said that very unfortunately the government organisations too creating public nuisances in different ways. For example, he said that there were a number of digital billboards beside the roads, which harm the eyes of the travellers and create distractions for drivers.
People suffer from the odour of wastes for dumping on public spaces, which is the most obvious nuisance that we are continuously facing in the country.
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