Vol. 4 Num 61 Sat. July 26, 2003  

Dismantling billboards
Relief to the vision of city dwellers
The decision by Dhaka City Corporation not to renew contracts for advertising billboards and remove them from its land is worthy of welcoming. These billboards were a gross vulgarisation of our surroundings without any regard for the greenery. They were also a big obstruction to the optical view causing a sort of 'vision pollution'. So even though a tad late, DCC to our mind has taken the right decision. But that doesn't mean we want the city totally bereft of billboards.

We understand advertisements have become a major part of marketting a product in today's world. And what could be a better way than a huge billboard to attract consumers. They grab your attention, they influence the consumers in a major way to buy the product. They are also a sign of economic vibrancy. And why not -- DCC had expected to earn at least Tk 5 crore from these billboards in the last fiscal year. Then why should one object to them?

Because mushrooming of these billboards all over the city is not only crude but also completely misplaced. There doesn't seem to be any policy or regulations as to where these billboards should go up and where they shouldn't. It's almost like a free for all kind of a situation. If one takes a tour around the major roads of the city, one would definitely find too many of such billboards on traffic intersections, on the side of the roads -- everywhere. One just has to turn one's head -- a huge neon sign or a painted billboard would definitely block one's view. It is completely devoid of aesthetics. We are glad that the DCC authority has realised it and taken firm action. We hope from now on they would not have to resort to dismantling billboards.

But to ensure that, DCC would need to initiate some regulations. We suggest that the billboards are allowed to be put up sparsely in specified and selected locations. Taking some recent incidents into account, the billboards should also be structurally sturdy to stand storm or similar circumstances. Above all, DCC should be sincere in keeping the city protected from any kind of indecency and crudity.