Draft guideline proposes ban of billboards at city turning points | The Daily Star
08:22 PM, October 22, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:22 PM, December 17, 2015

Draft guideline proposes ban of billboards at city turning points

A draft guideline proposes banning all kinds of billboards at turning points of major roads in Dhaka to make the city safe and beautiful.

Authorities at DNCC recently formed a committee to formulate the draft guidelines which were sent for review this week. 

Huge number of billboards has made the city skyline ugly all around and are causes of constant concerns of the city dwellers because of the danger they pose to life and property.

“It has been suggested in the draft guideline that the ideal place for billboards can be where vehicles are parked or wait,” environmentalist Iqbal Habib, one of the members of the Dhaka North City Corporation committee, told The Daily Star Online today.

“It has been recommended that no billboards can be placed at turning points of main roads in the capital as they create distractions for drivers,” Iqbal Habib said.

The draft guideline was sent to organisations and experts concerned for review which is hoped to be done by next week, Iqbal Habib said in a phone conversation with The Daily Star.

Many billboards were setup in an unplanned way, in many cases illegally. Lacking proper maintenance these structures are dangerously unsafe.

According to reports, at least three people have been crushed to death and 14 have been hurt under collapsing billboards in the city since 2009.

The DNCC recently formed the committee to draw up a guideline to regulate the use of billboards and restore beauty of the city.

Billboards should not have any information specially numbers which a driver or a commuter would want to memorise and in the process get distracted and get involved in crashes, Iqbal Habib adds.

Three concepts were considered while formulating the draft guideline, Iqbal Habib said, adding, firstly, the outdoor advertising should be considered as an art-based industry; secondly, the advertisement on the billboards should highlight city and country as well as the product or brand; and finally, the size, number, content and placement of these billboards should not hurt the growth of a child in the city, Iqbal Habib, also an architect and member secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said.

The draft guidelines also make it mandatory for all billboard advertisers to preserve 10 percent of the total space for social slogans, Habib said.

In addition, no billboards can be placed near any educational institutions, hospitals, government organisations and traffic signals, he said.

DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq on August 28 said that the guidelines would be formulated by a month.

Recently, the authorities told the owners of these hoardings to take them down by September as they did not renew their registrations.

Hundreds of billboards went blank in its immediate impact all around the city.

Meanwhile, in an interview with DS Online recently, Mohammad Rashed, general secretary of Outdoor Advertising Owners' Association, said, the authorities should implement fresh measures after saving the billboard business.

The people and country can be saved by an ideal guideline for this industry, Rashed said.  

The OAOA leader demanded phasing out of the unipoles instead of a wholesale crackdown.

In the absence of monitoring by city authorities, several thousand illegal billboards along with the legal ones have been put up in an unplanned way all over the capital.

According to a report published on July 28 this year in The Daily Star, in Dhaka south, there are 476 approved hoardings, 176 of them unipoles. There are also 316 mega signs in the area.

There are about 900 legal billboards against some 1,500 illegal ones. Of the illegal ones, 527 are privately owned.

Dhaka north has about 1,500 approved billboards against some 1,200 illegal ones. Of those illegal, 257 were permitted by the cantonment board, 173 by the air force, 147 by the railway, 10 by Wasa and 22 by police, while 443 are owned by private individuals.

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