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.
Noise at MNS rally touches rock-concert levelsNoise levels at the Gudi Padwa rally touched a deafening 119.4 dB, says anti-noise activistMUMBAI Updated: Apr 09, 2016 00:25 IST
The Maharashtra Narvirman Sena (MNS) violated noise pollution rules during its Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park on Friday, where the noise levels touched a deafening 119.4 decibels (dB), according to anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali. A rock concert generates noise levels of 120dB, according to the website www.webmd.com.
The highest noise levels were recorded during two processions, involving drums and metal plates, before the speeches began. According to Abdulali’s measurements, the highest noise level during the first procession was 113.5dB. The second was even louder, peaking at 119.4dB.
“There was hardly any attempt to regulate noise during the function. Music from loudspeakers as well as instruments pushed decibel levels way above permissible limits,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation, an NGO.
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Abdulali said that before the function began, the ambient noise in the area was recorded at 62dB. As soon as the background music began, the decibel level rose to 81dB. “The highest noise level during the speeches was 89.5dB, recorded during Avinash Abhiyankar’s speech. This was followed by MLA Sharad Sonawane’s speech, which peaked at 86dB, and Raj Thackeray’s, which touched 80.1dB,” she said.
According to standards laid down under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, residential and silence zones should have a maximum noise level of 55dB and 50dB during the day and 45dB and 40dB during the night, respectively.
On Wednesday, the Bombay high court had directed the state government to take criminal action against MNS if the party flouted its undertaking to maintain ambient sound levels during its Shivaji Park rally.
On May 5, 2010, the high court had declared Shivaji Park as a silence zone while hearing a petition filed by Wecom, a residents’ trust. On Wednesday, after hearing a plea from the same petitioner, a bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Prakash Naik said, “In case of any violation, the state will have to take stringent action as the state has taken liberty to grant permission.”
Ashok Rawat, a resident of Shivaji Park, told HT that while the MNS was asked to use small 3.5-watt speakers, it went ahead and used the traditional 250-watt loudspeakers. “The total wattage of loudspeakers during the function was calculated to be 6,400 watts. Members of the MNS had also put up tin sheets around the premises but this barely had any effect as metal does not absorb sound,” he said.
It's loud and clear: MNS violated noise norms at Shivaji Park rallyBy A Correspondent | Posted 09-Apr-2016
Despite the MNS assuring a court that there would be no sound pollution at its Shivaji Park rally, the decibel level reading taken by activist Sumaira Abdulali from AWAAZ Foundation showed that the sound was louder than the limit of 50 decibels.
Activist Sumaira Abdulali showing the high decibel reading outside Shivaji Park
A Mumbai-based NGO had approached the court recently, saying the MNS should not be allowed to hold its rally at Shivaji Park as the area is a ‘silence zone’. MNS had assured the court that it would not violate the Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules, 2000.
Before the rally, an MNS office bearer said, “We have told the court that we will not be using loudspeakers and will use sound distribution systems, instead, which is why there will not be any sound pollution.”
But activists at the venue differed. Loudspeakers, drums and dhols raised the decibel levels considerably, they said.
×Abdulali told mid-day that the decibel level even touched 119.04 at one point. “But this was before the programme started. Once MNS chief Raj Thackeray began speaking, the maximum decibel level recorded was 85. When MNS leader Avinash Abhyankar spoke, the reading was 89 decibels.”
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.