Posters, banners, graffiti deprive Dhaka of its charms

The capital Dhaka has lost its beauty due to an increasing number of posters, banners and graffiti hanging here and there – from trees to lampposts to buildings and walls – as publicity or publicity tools for various groups, individuals and institutions.

Visual pollution also causes mental disorders in city dwellers and damages their property. For example, sticking posters on trees hurts nature lovers, and writing on freshly painted walls their owners.

Although the government enacted a law in 2012, the Graffiti Writing and Poster Posting Control Act, to prevent such activities, the law has been observed more in violation than in compliance.

“It is imperative to control the posting of posters and the writing on the walls to protect the health and beauty of the city,” said Adil Muhammad Khan, executive director of the Institute for Planning and Development.

“Politicians and public officials themselves break the rules; so how will citizens feel inspired to comply with the law,” he asked The Business Standard. “We should now be aware of visual pollution, along with environmental pollution.”

Mentioning that no country except Bangladesh and its neighbors has such a culture, the planner called for a social movement against such a trend.

The two companies in the city – Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) – which are the authorities responsible for implementing the law said that they regularly carry out campaigns, but have not been successful. to find people involved in sticking up posters, hanging billboards and banners.

“The offenders cannot be brought to justice because they do it clandestinely. We have two magistrates for 75 neighborhoods to ensure this,” said Farid Ahmad, director general of the DSCC.

“We are now moving towards the implementation of digital billboards [to facilitate legal advertising]“, he told TBS.

DNCC chief executive Selim Reza said the company has taken a hard line against any hanging of illegal posters and banners.

DNCC officials said the company has installed billboards in 52 of the city’s busiest locations. But a visit to several of these places revealed the presence of advertisements.

On the other hand, all roadside structures in Uttara, Tejgaon, Magbazar, Paltan, Gulistan and Farmgate areas were found flooded with posters. Even the newly erected subway pillars were seen covered in multiple layers of posters.

Banners were most common in the alleys. Additionally, very few roadside walls were seen without graffiti.

“The walls of houses cannot remain clear even for a single day after being painted on them. Posters come overnight. We fail to prevent such acts because poster artists are influential,” said Samiul Haque, a resident of Motijheel.
Banglamotor resident Tasmima Islam said the posters and banners not only damaged the walls and surroundings but also caused accidents.

“Additionally, many posters show offensive images and writing that are uncomfortable to watch,” she added and called on authorities to take tough action against those involved.

What the law says

According to Article 4 of the Graffiti Writing and Posting Posters Control Law, no writings or posters may be posted anywhere except designated places. If someone does, the authorities can impose a fine of up to Tk 10,000 or a 30-day jail term.

Although the two municipal corporations occasionally remove posters and banners themselves, they take no legal action against the perpetrators of such acts. ***

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