Study finds neighbourhood of The London Clinic, their loudest, is less noisy than area around Lilavati, city’s quietest
MUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:49 IST
Noise levels were above permissible limits outside hospitals, both at London and Mumbai.(HT)
The highest noise level recorded around a hospital in London is less than the lowest recorded near a hospital in Mumbai, a study revealed.
The decibel (dB) levels recorded around six hospitals in central London in the second week of May saw a maximum reading of 88dB (as loud as constant ringing noise of a food blender) with traffic as the main source, city-based NGO Awaaz Foundation found.
The NGO had carried out a similar study around six hospitals in the first week of May in Mumbai. The lowest reading was 95.1 dB — seven units more than the highest reading around a London hospital.
The highest noise level around a Mumbai hospital was recorded at 100.5dB, which is as loud as a packed football stadium.
However, in both cases, noise levels were above permissible limits outside hospitals, both at London and Mumbai.
“This tells us that noise levels are a problem all over the world. In London, they have tried to solve it by insulating some of the buildings, apart from keeping noise levels down at main roads by not honking,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
“In Mumbai, however, we have not taken any of these actions,” she said.
The decibel level of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94.4dB in London. In January this year, the state government approved Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray’s suggestion to increase the volume of ambulance sirens to 110-120 dB so that vehicles get the right-of-way through congested roads.
The World Health Organisation estimates that long term exposure to noise levels from 85db to 90db is enough to lead to hearing loss. According to physicists, a 10 dB increase in noise levels doubles the impact on hearing.
Noise pollution not only leads to hearing loss, but can also damage other organs in the human body and can even lead to cardiac ailments.
“Similar to Mumbai, the hospitals in London are also on busy roads. They have made some effort to minimise noise levels so that it does not affect people being treated at wards inside. However, we do not seem to have any such concerns in Mumbai, which we need,” said Abdulali.
Along with Abdulali, London resident Nigel Watts recorded noise levels at the London hospitals. “I have become increasingly concerned about noise especially in sensitive places such as hospitals and decided to measure the noise at six well known hospitals. We found decibel levels to be uncomfortable and higher than typical London levels. All the hospitals are located on busy roads and, in one case, next to a very busy junction,” he said.
Watts added that noise levels inside the hospitals’ lobbies were lower but still uncomfortable. “Most London hospitals now have double glazed windows, so the noise levels in the wards are fortunately much lower than in the lobbies.
The comparison with Mumbai hospitals was striking; noise levels there seem to be significantly higher than the already uncomfortable levels in London,” he said.
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Silence zones near Mumbai hospitals are as noisy as a packed football stadium: Study
Awaaz Foundation measured noise levels outside six hospitals on Tuesday
MUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:49 IST
The World Health Organisation estimates that long-term exposure to noise levels from 85db to 90db is enough to cause hearing loss.(Pic for Representation)
Vehicles that honk in silence zones outside major Mumbai hospitals make as much noise as a packed football stadium, a study by Awaaz Foundation revealed. The noise from vehicular traffic regularly touches 100.5 decibels (dB), according to the study.
Awaaz Foundation measured noise levels outside six hospitals on Tuesday, a day before International Noise Awareness Day. It found that traffic noise outside PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim touched 100.5 decibels (dB). KEM hospital in Parel was the second loudest at 100.3 dB. Outside Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion, noise levels reached 97.3dB at Lilavati Hospital. They also measured noise levels Bandra (95.1dB), Holy Family Hospital, Bandra (97.4dB) and Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children (99.6dB).
The World Health Organisation estimates that long-term exposure to noise levels from 85db to 90db is enough to cause hearing loss. Noise standards, as laid down under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 identify silence zones, which include areas outside hospitals. Silence zones have an upper limit of 50dB in the day and 40dB at night.
“Vehicles honking outside hospitals is a serious health issue for patients. I also saw many hospital guards use whistles to control traffic,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz. “Honking can be as loud as festival noise and sometimes even louder at night. As honking affects mental health and sleep, patients take a long time to recover.”
HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?
Noise levels outside prominent hospitals as measured by NGO Awaaz FoundationPD HINDUJA HOSPITAL, MAHIM 100.5 dB (as loud as a packed football stadium)
KEM HOSPITAL, PAREL 100.3 dB (same as a constant ringing sound of pneumatic hammer)
BAI JERBAI WADIA HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN 99.6dB (as loud as a discotheque)
HOLY FAMILY HOSPITAL, BANDRA 97.4dB (as loud as a drilling machine)
SION HOSPITAL 97.3dB (as loud as a newspaper press)
LILAVATI HOSPITAL, BANDRA95.1dB (as loud as an electric lawnmower)
YOUR HEARING ABILITY IS 19 YEARS OLDER THAN YOU
A World Hearing Index – a global ranking developed by researchers at Mimi and Charite University Hospital in Berlin – found that the average hearing loss for Mumbai citizens is +18.58 years — meaning a citizen in Mumbai has the hearing ability of an individual almost 19 years older than themselves.
This makes Mumbai the second - worst in the world for average hearing loss – or reduced hearing abilities – out of 50 cities that were studied.Doctors said treatment in hospitals is a painful experience for both patients and them. “Patients are disturbed but they cannot be helped. Hospitals and patients are silent sufferers of this indiscipline. The police need to levy heftier fines to stop this,” said Sanjeev Mehta, senior specialist, Lilavati Hospital in Bandra.
In 2016, the police registered a record 13,883 cases and imposed 816 penalties for various honking-related violations such as the use of pressure horns, musical horns and reverse horns. “Traffic police personnel have been told to take strict action against those violating noise rules, especially through honking. We have already carried out a number of campaigns to sensitise citizens who are honking unnecessarily. It is a request to citizens to wait patiently at traffic signals till it turns green,” said a senior official from the traffic police.
The state transport commissioner told HT that this was a long-standing issue and the National Green Tribunal, Pune had asked the transport department to check noise levels and impose fines on violators. “We are waiting for standard operating procedures from the state pollution control board as per the directions of the NGT on how to measure decibel levels and take punitive action against those violating noise rules,” said transport commissioner Dr Pravin Gedam.
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Mumbai’s residential areas are 64 times noisier than London’s
MUMBAI CITY NEWS: Trains in the British capital too make 32 times less noise than those in city MUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:50 IST
Noise level at the suburban trains in London, measured at both underground and overground ones, was at a maximum of 74.1 dB (sound of a toilet flushing).(HT)
Mumbai has left London far behind on noise levels as the city’s residential areas are 64 times louder than London’s and suburban trains in the city are 32 times noisier than those in England’s capital, says a study by anti-noise campaigner Awaaz Foundation.
The maximum noise level at residential areas in London was 30 dB (as loud as whispering) compared to a minimum of 51 dB (sound of refrigerator) and a maximum of 90 dB (sound of a lawnmower) in Mumbai. The source of noise in London was traffic without much honking but in Mumbai reckless honking adds to the traffic noise.
Similarly, noise from the suburban trains in London, measured at both underground and overground stations was at a maximum of 74.1 dB (sound of a toilet flushing). But decibel level of announcements made was 88dB (as loud as a diesel truck), of ill-maintained brakes 94dB (food processor) and train horn 120dB (thunderclap).
According to professors from the physics department of the University of Mumbai, a 10 dB increase in noise levels doubles the impact on hearing. “This means that if the sound levels increase from 10 to 20dB, the impact on human hearing will increase from two to four times. In this case, if it is an increase of 60 dB, it will be 64 times,” said Pratap Patil, associate professor, department of physics, University of Mumbai.
Construction noise, however, was similar at both Mumbai and London but the British capital had more noise abatement measures. The study, however, identified the use of noise barriers at every construction site in London, which were absent in Mumbai.
On Tuesday, Awaaz Foundation wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with the readings asking him to take active steps to control noise levels. “Noise levels in Mumbai exceed those in London due to lack of law enforcement and planning to control noise pollution,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
She added that noise levels are controlled at London by regulating timings of noisy work. “There are also strict laws governing timing and location of recreational events which do not permit many types of activities including loudspeaker use except in designated areas but this is not the case in Mumbai,” said Abdulali.
“Noise is a direct result of the increasing population. The laws in India for noise rules were made based on international laws. However, there is need to levy stringent fines for honking and construction activity violations,” said D Saha, additional director, CPCB.
A LOUD WARNING: LONDON vs MUMBAI
The decibel level of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94.4dB in London. (HT)Hospitals
The decibel (dB) levels recorded around six hospitals in central London saw a maximum of 88dB (as loud as constant ringing noise of a food blender) with traffic as the main source.
Results of a similar study around six Mumbai hospitals: lowest reading was 95.1 dB and highest noise levels were 100.5 dB (as loud as a packed football stadium).
The decibel level of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94.4dB in London.
Recommendations: It can be solved by insulating some of the hospital buildings located at busy traffic junctions, apart from keeping noise levels down at main roads by not honking
Even when situated on main roads, London residences recorded noise levels under 30 dB.
Mumbai residences measured a minimum of 51dB and maximum of 90dB in various seasons depending on the sources of the noise, including honking, loudspeakers in their vicinity.
Recommendations: Honking in Mumbai along with all types of noise including loudspeakers, firecrackers and other noise sources that need to be restricted in residential areas at all times.
The decibel level of trains in London at an underground station was 74.1dB and overground trains too recorded similar decibel levels.
The trains in Mumbai exceeded decibel levels during announcements that went up to 88dB, dysfucntional brakes that were not maintained and made a screeching sound up to 94dB and the sound of train horns were at 120dB.
Recommendations: Maintenance of trains to restrict noise levels from faulty equipment needs priority. Additional noise sources such as loudspeakers within trains and bhajan mandals need to be strictly regulated.
Construction noise was similar in London and Mumbai.
In London, maximum decibel level of 101.4dB while cutting stone was the highest decibel reading while 89.7dB at a major construction site, which had noise barriers installed around it.
There are strict time limits for construction work in London. In Mumbai the average noise for construction activities is 107dB and it is permitted for much longer hours than in London.
Recommendations: Timings for construction need to be restricted and an action plan to mandate noise barriers and restriction on types of construction activity needs to be formulated and notified.
(Source: Two-megacity studies on noise levels by Awaaz Foundation, recommendations by Sumaira Abdulali)
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Mahim fair: Bombay HC issues notice to cops for flouting noise rulesThe police had used loudspeakers at the Mahim police station in December, despite it being a silent zone
MUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2017 09:50 IST
Badri Chatterjee and Ayesha Arvind
The bench directed the state to inform it of the action it would take against these officers over the violations.(HT File Photo)
Ruling that “no breach of noise pollution norms in the city will be tolerated”, no matter what the occasion, the Bombay high court on Friday issued show-cause notices of contempt against the senior police inspector of the Mahim police station, and assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Mahim division, for using loudspeakers inside the police station compound during the Mahim Dargah Urus (Mahim Fair) in December.
Justice Abhay S Oka and justice AK Menon observed that the Mahim police’s conduct was a “gross breach of the high court’s judgments and orders” and that it was a ‘fit case‘ for taking action against the police officers who should have been the implementing authority for noise norms.
The bench directed the state to inform the court of the action it proposes to take against these officers over the violations. The court also dismissed the police’s argument that it had a valid license for the use of the loudspeakers saying that “the permission that was granted to the police was not for use of loudspeakers within the police station compound, but only to allow the procession to be taken through a particular route”.HT was the first to report the incident on December 13 last year that the inaugural procession at the Mahim Fair was as loud as 117.3 decibel (dB) (between 2.15pm and 3pm) – which is equivalent to the sound of a rock drilling machine. Incidentally, the sandal (procession) was carried out by the Mumbai police, the enforcement authority against noise pollution violations, near Mahim police station, a Silence Zone.
The observation was made by city-based non-governmental organisation Awaaz Foundation, which followed up the matter with a contempt plea filed against the Mahim police.
“It is very important that the police, as the implementation authority designated under the noise rules, are impeccable in following rules themselves,” said Sumaira Abdulali, petitioner and convener, NGO Awaaz Foundation. “HT reported the violation at the Mahim police station immediately after it happened, drawing attention to problems citizens face while trying to get the police to act against noise. The news report was mentioned during the first hearing of our contempt petition.”
The court also junked the arguments of the government pleader that the police’s decision to allow for use of the loudspeakers was justified since they had secured the permission for the use of the same between 2pm and 10pm on that day, and also the fact that it had been tradition to celebrate the ten-day long festival of Urus and organise the inaugural procession at the police station since 1923.
The court said that no tradition or authority can allow for, or validate the breach of noise pollution norms in the city. “Does tradition give the right to the police to violate rules? Does it mean that since you are the police, you can violate noise norms even when the said area is demarcated as a silent zone?” the bench said.
The police however, argued that the decibel metres used by Abdulali were inept at recording minimum and maximum sound limits and thus, “must not be relied upon”.
The court, however, dismissed the argument and noted that the police on its own part had not taken any steps to record decibel level of the noise inside the station compound, and that after Abdulali’s complaint; the police had perfunctorily recorded the noise levels from only outside the police station compound.
HC has now directed the two officers to respond to the notices by June 9 this year, and the state to file its reply by May 3 this year.
Officials from the Mumbai police had told HT at the time that if legal norms were violated action would be taken against violators, irrespective of who they might be. “We would not like to comment as the matter is sub judice,” said Pramajit Singh Dahiya, deputy commissioner of police, zone 5.
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Anti noise pollution activist writes to Maha CM with action plan to reduce Mumbai’s decibel level
VIRAT A SINGH | Wed, 24 May 2017-07:25am , DNA
Sumaira Abdulali has put forth some suggestions to make Mumbai's decibel levels lower than what it currently is
Anti noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali on Tuesday wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking stricter enforcement of laws and the need for a detailed plan to control noise pollution in the city from traffic and construction.
Adulali’s letter shares information comparing the noise pollution levels of London and Mumbai. The convenor of Awaaz Foundation highlighted that the noise pollution levels in London were controlled by regulating timings of noisy work, and by ensuring that essential services do not add to the decibel levels.
“There are laws that govern timing and locations of recreational events that do not permit several activities in designated areas. Despite this, London is considered a noisy city, and its residents complain about the adverse affects of noise pollution,” she wrote, stating that Mumbai was one of the noisiest cities in the world, and that all these noise sources could be reduced by effective political and administrative will, which would safeguard the health of crores of Mumbai residents.
Abdulali, on her recent trip to London, carried out an elaborate noise mapping in the city and noted that that despite being situated on the main roads, the city’s residential areas were quiet. “While the noise levels inside a residence with ordinary single glass measured just 35dB during daytime, a residence in Mumbai near main road measured between 51dB to 90dB in various seasons and depending on the sources of noise, including honking, loudspeakers in their vicinity,” she said.
Even though the noise from construction equipment was similar in London and Mumbai, with a maximum decibel level of 101.4dB the timings when work is permitted are strictly regulated in London. Abdulali also observed that there were noise barriers around the London sites, while no such barriers existed in Mumbai.
“It is recommended that the timings of construction need to be restricted and an action plan be formulated. Construction work is only going to increase in the coming time and this should not only be limited to residential or commercial projects, but also infrastructure projects,” she said.
©2017 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
Lowest noise level outside Mumbai hospitals more than the highest in London
VIRAT A SINGH | Thu, 18 May 2017-07:50am , DNAThe analysis was carried out by anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali
The highest noise levels measured outside six major hospitals in central London was found to be lower than the lowest noise levels recorded outside six hospitals in Mumbai, during a comparative noise level analysis between Mumbai and London. The analysis was carried out by anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali.
Convenor of Awaaz Foundation, Abdulali took noise level readings outside Mumbai hospitals in April. She then decided to carry her decibel meter during her recent trip to London where she, along with London resident Nigel Watts, took readings of noise levels both outside and inside hospitals.
"Be it urban mobility, infrastructure or other aspects, our politicians and bureaucrats keep aspiring to implement the ideas of the west in Mumbai, but they never talk about the noise levels in the same manner," she said. She added that she has decided to send the comparisons of noise levels to both Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis as well as Health Minister Deepak Sawant so that they can set a task committee to check how the noise levels could be brought down.
Abdulali and Watts took noise level readings in the vicinity of six central London hospitals on a working day. All the hospitals were located on busy roads. "The outside noise levels ranged from 62 to 88 dB, while it ranged to about 56 to 74 dB inside the lobby. On the other hand, it ranged from 95.1dB to 100.5 dB in Mumbai, which was mainly due to continuous honking despite it being a silence zone," said Abdulali.
Abdulai said the high noise level, which is a result of incessant honking by vehicles in the slow moving traffic outside the hospitals, is detrimental for the health of the patients.
"While the maximum noise level in London was found at London Clinic that was 88dB the lowest was observed at Guy's which was 63dB however the highest in Mumbai was 100.3 dB outside KEM hospital while the lowest was 95.1dB at Lilavati. Hence the highest noise level recorded in London was still lower than the lowest recorded noise in Mumbai," said Abdulali adding that the decibel levels of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94dB in London.
Speaking on the comparison of noise levels between London and Mumbai Watts said, "The comparison with Mumbai hospitals was striking. The noise levels there seem to be significantly higher than in London."
©2017 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
How noisy is your hospital?By Somita Pal on May 17, 2017
Sumaira Abdulali, along with Nigel Watts of Awaaz Foundation, recorded noise levels in an around six hospitals across Mumbai on April 25. For them, it’s just another job.
A nose for news is no longer an alien term, but how about a nose for noise?
For noted environmentalist Sumaira Abdulali, it is, however, a way of helping city maintain the environmental balance. To know how much of a noise is created in six different hospitals across Mumbai, Abdulali, along with Nigel Watts of Awaaz Foundation, recorded noise levels across those hospitals on April 25.
That was, however, the first step.
The same exercise was repeated in as many hospitals in London on May 3. The noise levels were in the range of 95.1 decibels (dB) to 100.5 dB, which are comparable to a noise of a jet aircraft engine. Hospitals, as one is aware, are silence zone, where decibel levels should be no more 50dB in daytime and under 40 dB night.
Abdulali, recording noise levels outside Hospitals in London“We used the same instruments to record noise levels in London. This exercise was required so that we can give informed recommendations to our traffic and government authorities to cut noise pollution. Also, so far, there has been no comparison on noise levels near hospitals in Mumbai and other parts of the world,” said Abdulali, who has spearheaded the movement against noise pollution in India.
She said both the cities had one common factor for high decibel noise – vehicular traffic.
Among other observations, Abdulali noted that decibel levels of ambulance sirens were lower inLondon. Their hospitals were also insulated against sound by the use of double glazed windows and other materials. As were their ambulances. In Mumbai, the decibel level of ambulances in Mumbai was 100dB compared to 94dB in London.
“In Mumbai, the leader of a political party had recommended that the decibel levels of an ambulance siren should be increased to help them navigate traffic easily. But ambulances are a mini hospital where the patient can get affected because of the noise. Even our ambulances are not insulated from noise,” said Abudlali.
She said she was shocked to find that in Mumbai, due to constant honking on roads, 95.1 decibels was the lowest level of sound. This, in fact, was higher than the highest level recorded in London. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that long-term exposure to noise levels from 85db to 90db is enough to cause hearing loss. There is an urgent need to train people to stop honking and to follow traffic discipline. Only then can we protect our silent zones,” said Abdulali.
“Like Mumbai, all these six hospitals were located on busy roads with heavy traffic density. The noise level outside the hospitals ranged between 62 dB to 88 dB. Inside the hospital lobby, the range was between 56 dB to 74 dB. Noise levels of passing ambulances with their sirens on were also measured –the highest was 94 dB,” said Abdulali.
She said in London, the sound was mainly because of vehicles, not vehicle horns. The maximum levels were 88 dB. “We will be preparing a report on our exercise, observations and recommendations, which will be submitted to traffic officials, hospital authorities. We have already sent brief details to the Indian Medical Association’s noise pollution team,” said Abdulali.
© 2017, ↑ My Medical Mantra
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.