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Half of Mumbai to be much quieter as BMC notifies 1,537
Thursday, 8 October 2015 - 6:40am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna | From the print edition
Chaitanya Marpakwar (/authors/chaitanya-marpakwar)
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Half of Mumbai to be much quieter as BMC notifies 1,537 silence zones
Loudspeakers, horns, musical instruments and bursting of fire-crackers to be a strict 'no'
If the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has its way, almost half the city will soon be a much quieter place to live in. For the first time, the civic body has notified 'silence zones', identifying over 1,500 locations across the city. The notification was issued by the BMC's environment department last week, following a rap from the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
According to the notification, a copy of which is with dna, 1,537 locations have been marked as silence zones, which include roads around schools, colleges, hospitals, religious sites and courts. The eastern suburbs have the highest number of silence zones (/topic/silence-zones) with 540 of them, the western suburbs have 524 and the island city 453 silence zones.
"We had called for a report from the local wards. Based on the reports we have marked these silence zones. Now it is the responsibility of the police to enforce the regulations there," said a senior civic official. The L-ward, which includes areas like Kurla, has the highest number of silence zones with 268 of them. The C-ward, which includes areas like Pydhonie, has the least with just 12 silence zones.
"100 metres around these structures will be treated as silence zones. We have covered a significant portion of the city. The landscape of the city keeps changing and new schools, colleges (/topic/colleges) and religious sites keep coming up. All these changes in the cityscape have been incorporated. The notification is very comprehensive," the official added.
The NGT had come down heavily on the state Home department for failing to mark silence zones in July. The BMC had stated that no notification declaring any particular area as silence zone, in proximity of schools (/topic/schools) and hospitals (/topic/hospitals) was issued.
According to officials, if an area is declared as silence-zone, there is a ban on loudspeakers, horns, musical instruments and the bursting of fire-crackers in the area. There is a cap on the decibel level of noise in the silence zone too. Further, noise mitigation measures would have to be adopted for construction activities in such areas.
The NGT order was the result of a three-year-long battle by RTI activist Mohammed Ishtiaque Bagban. Since 2011, Bagban who lives near Crawford Market, used to call the police control room whenever noise norms were violated. However, the police did not respond. With no response from the authorities, he moved the NGT.
"This is a welcome move. Till the time one knows the exact boundary, complaints to the police about noise violations had little effect. The BMC must publicise the notification. People are not aware whether their buildings are marked as silence zone or not. The boundaries should be included in the Development Plan (DP) too," said anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali, of Awaaz Foundation.
Total no of silence zones: 1,537
Eastern suburbs: 540 Western suburbs: 524 Island city: 453
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Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.