Keep Ganesh fest hushed in silent zones: Mumbai NGO writes to PM
VIRAT A SINGH | Thu, 13 Jul 2017-10:45pm ,
Mumbai , DNA webdesk
Anti-noise pollution activists have raised a strong objection against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's plans to relax noise pollution norms for the Ganesh utsav festival in silence zones.
City-based NGO, Awaaz Foundation has written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention. They also plan to bring the issue to the Bombay High Court's notice on Thursday during a hearing on a petition on curbing traffic noise.
Recently, Fadnavis said that the State will seek permission from the Union Environment Minister to permit loudspeakers in silence zones for the 10-day festival this year. In case the request was not processed in time, the State government will issue an Ordinance to allow it, he said.
In her letter to the PM and Union Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. Convenor of Awaaz Foundation Sumaira Abdulali has appealed to them on behalf of the health of citizens of Mumbai to intervene against such a measure, which also violates a Statute of the Indian Parliament, the Noise Pollution Rules of the MoEFCC, and Supreme Court and Bombay High Court Orders.
“If needed, we will file a fresh petition against the State, which is contradicting its own undertaking to the Bombay High Court's 2016 order that it would ensure that loudspeaker permissions are not given in Silence Zones,” Abdulali said.
How noise pollution affects you: Noise pollution effects can be felt throughout the human body. It can affect one's hearing, mental health, cause heart disease. According to medical studies, it affects every single organ of the body. The elderly, infants and people battling health ailments are a high-risk group.
What are Silence Zones: Under the noise pollution rules, Silence Zones are defined as areas within 100 metres of sensitive places like hospitals, courts, educational institutions and religious places.
The Noise Rules: The Noise Rules, formulated for enforcement of decibel levels, were passed in Parliament as a part of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The decibel level restrictions have been derived from a World Health Organisation Report “Community Noise” 1986. The report acknowledged the environmental harm caused by noise pollution and mandated the need to restrict them to within specified limits. The Noise Pollution Rules and Statute have been upheld by the Supreme Court of India as a Constitutional right of citizens to enjoy peaceful life under Article 21.
Noise pollution in Mumbai: Awaaz Foundation has been actively measuring noise emitted from various sources (loud speakers, traffic noise etc) in Mumbai since 2002. While noise pollution is a continuous hazard due to traffic and other noise sources, its peak effects are felt during the festival season when loudspeakers are often used in the sensitive areas like Silence Zones, adversely affecting the health of patients, the elderly, and infants. Studies indicate that noise levels from loudspeakers in the festival seasons including Ganesh Utsav and Eid-e-Milad, range from about 85 – 123.7dB. The NGO also found that noise levels when loudspeakers are used, are never within the statutory level required for ensuring a healthy life, specially for those who are already vulnerable.
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.