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Blame it on politics: Ganpati, Eid see more noise in Mumbai
Anahita Mukherji,TNN | Sep 20, 2015, 10.59 PM IST
READ MORE Noise|Ganpati|Eid|Diwali|Awaaz Foundation
MUMBAI: Noise levels during Diwali were ear-splitting, while Ganesh Chaturthi was among the quieter festivals, a decade ago.
The reverse is true today. Diwali has grown quieter, while Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid have seen the highest noise levels. Politics, and not religion, may explain this.
"Diwali is celebrated by individuals and families. Citizens have responded to years of activism on noise pollution, and brought down noise levels, opting for firecrackers that emit less sound. But Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid are celebrated at the community level, with politicians pumping in money. These festivals have, over the years, seen rising noise levels," said Sumaira Abdulali, noise pollution activist and founder of Awaaz Foundation, who has been recording noise levels during festivals for over a decade.
When Abdulali began campaigning against noise pollution, she thought it would be harder to bring down levels during Diwali, as individuals would be tougher and more unwieldy to control. She thought it would be easier to reduce levels during festivals organized on a larger scale, as it would mean dealing with festival organisers and not individuals. But the common man was more conscious of the environment than politicians and religious groups.
Nearly every noise reading by Awaaz Foundation during Diwali crossed 100dB in 2007; the highest was 130dB. Last year, levels around Diwali dropped drastically to 80-95dB. Only one recording (105.5dB) crossed 100dB in 2014.
In 2013, less than 50% recordings during Eid-e-Milad crossed 100dB, while the maximum was 104.5. This year, the maximum recorded was 113dB. Levels routinely crossed 100dB.
Meanwhile, 14 of 18 readings during Ganesh Chaturthi last year crossed 100dB. The maximum level recorded during the festival in 2014 was 114dB. The highest recorded during Ganesh Chaturthi in recent years was 123dB in 2013. A decade ago, levels during Ganesh Chaturthi were 80-87dB.
Abdulali said the Supreme Court passed an order on noise limits between 10pm and 6am in 2005. "That was the year loudspeakers during Ganesh Chaturthi stopped at 10pm, and there was no early morning azaan," said Abdulali. "While Maharashtra followed the SC order that year, the state government subsequently petitioned the apex court, pointing to a ministry of environment & forests notification which allowed loudspeakers to be used till midnight for 15 days a year," she said.
Abdulali had filed a petition in 2003 against the notification, as it contradicted itself, allowing loudspeakers till midnight while making it mandatory to comply with noise regulations. Her petition has been pending with the Bombay high court for 12 years.
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•Mumbai•4 days ago
What kind of Noise Pollution is there on Eid? Muslims dont put up Pandals on the Roads and Block Traffic and Inconvenience the Public in General
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•Unknown•4 days ago
I had always felt that Muslim festivals were less noisy compared to the festivals of other communities. Maybe they to have evolved to compete with others. After all a popularity of festival is measured by the noise pollution it creates.
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.