Activists for display of noise level at city junctions
File photo of a hand-held decibel meter —For representation purpose only
VIRAT A SINGH | Sat, 9 Apr 2016-07:40am , DNAFounder of NGO Awaaz Foundation, Sumaira Abdulali, said that Mumbai needed noise mapping and there was an urgent need to use this to create an impact about how it was affecting the health of people.
With Mumbai's noise quotient getting the top ranking for maximum violation of prescribed noise limits by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), activists fighting for implementation of sound pollution norms want the level of noise to be measured and displayed at important city junctions.
Founder of NGO Awaaz Foundation, Sumaira Abdulali, said that Mumbai needed noise mapping and there was an urgent need to use this to create an impact about how it was affecting the health of people. The NGO has been at the forefront of the movement against noise pollution.
"We need to install real-time sound measuring equipment at crucial and noisy traffic junctions. The readings should be displayed so that people are continuously aware of the noise levels. A database should also be created.
High noise levels, harmful for health, can be displayed in red to create additional impact," said Abdulali, adding that it might encourage motorists to reduce honking.
She pointed out that since last year, after the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was launched to provide location-specific air quality, a lot of awareness was created about air pollution. "There are display boards, Smartphone applications as well as a website dedicated to air pollution now. Hence, there should be no problem in doing something similar for noise pollution as well, which is almost as serious as air pollution," said Abdulali.
Another environmentalist said that at the moment, individuals were measuring noise levels and submitting reports for only a few festivals or events. "Traffic noise and honking are the biggest contributors to noise pollution in the city, but there is no specific data available. Once such decibel meters are installed at various junctions across the city, not only will it be in public domain in a format for the common man to understand, but one will also be able to pinpoint the worst affected areas, where immediate steps can be taken to bring down the noise levels," he said.
Meanwhile, according to a senior official from the Environment Department, this could prove to be a big step to fight noise pollution. "Technology is available, so it's not that setting up decibel meters and display boards will require rocket science. It can be done by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) itself," shared the official.
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.