17th September 2013
Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Subject; Noise levels on 5th day of Ganpati 2013; noise and vibration from dhol-tasha instruments.
Awaaz Foundation measured noise levels in the city of Mumbai on the 5th day of Ganpati visarjajn. The noise measurements are recorded as environmental noise on the periphery of the actual processions, and are typically lower than noise measured from instruments at close quarters, although participants are exposed to significantly higher noise levels. A report on actual noise levels from dhol-tasha was sent to you on 9th September 2013 .
During the 5th day immersion processions, increased use of dhol-tasha with plastic membrane drums was recorded. Children also played these drums, some of which were further amplified by loudspeakers. Noise levels were high in places like Grant Road, Bombay Central and near hospitals like Harkissondas Hospital. There was very little noise and heavy police presence in usually noisy spots such as Shivaji Park, Sena Bhavan etc. Noise levels continued to go up beyond 10 pm and the loudest level (112 dB was recorded at 10.30 pm at Ranade Road and 110.3 at 11.15 pm at Santacruz. After 11pm, areas such as Bandra and Khar were silent.
Mr Ajay Marathe recorded noise levels in Navi Mumbai and his report is enclosed herewith.
In addition, citizens participating in the ‘Citizens’ noise map’ campaign using decibel levels obtained on their mobile phones posted their data on a facebook page and directly on a satellite map. http://eyeonearth.org/map/NoiseWatch/ An analysis of their findings is enclosed. While a citizens science program may not have the level of accuracy of a serious scientific study, it clearly indicates that noise levels are beyond safe limits for human health in most parts of Mumbai. Please note that, since telephone instruments have a maximum cut off level, beyond which is considered unsafe for health, there are no readings beyond 90 dB except that they are in the very bad or red zone. The satellite map for the city of London indicates only one red zone (above 75 dB), while Mumbai shows over 18 in the few weeks that this project was begun. The orange or bad zone between 65 - 77 dB is indicated by over 40 citizens’ observations.
In addition to noise levels, I would also like to bring to your attention he ill effects of vibration caused by dhol-tasha. According to a Report of Dr. Kalyani Mandke, Audiologist and Dr Mahesh Bedekar, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, vibrations at certain frequencies (of which dhol-tasha form a part) adversely affect vital organs of the body including the nervous system. Reports of the two doctors are enclosed with this letter. I once again request you to personally intervene and ensure that such harmful instruments are not allowed during the remainder of the festival season.
Thank you and with regards.
1. Awaaz Foundation Noise readings for 5th Day of Ganpati 2013
2. Citizen’s readings for Navi Mumbai for 5th day of Ganpati 2013
3. Analysis of citizens’ noise readings on GIS satellite map and on fb page
4. Dr. Kalyani Mandke and Dr Mahesh Bedekar’s reports on the harmful effects of vibration from dhol-tasha on human health
9th September 2013
Mr Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,
Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Subject: Measurement of dhol-tasha during practice sessions exceed maximum permissible limits; request not to allow dhol- tasha in Silence or Residential Zones and after 10pm.
Awaaz Foundation and the Association of Medical Consultants measured noise levels from dhol-tasha instruments during practice sessions, prior to the Ganpati Festival. The noise levels of a single drum measured upto 104.5 dB , a single tasha measured 105.7 dB and collective drums and tashas measured 113.7 dB (Report enclosed).The drum beats were not amplified by loudspeakers, as they usually are during the Ganpati Festival. The maximum permissible decibel level in a Residential Zone upto 10pm is 55dB and after 10pm is 45dB.
No exceptions to decibel levels are allowed under the Noise Pollution Rules, even during the time limit extended by the State Government until midnight for 15 days a year. Section 3 (3) and Section 8(8)of the Noise Rules state:
Section 3(3) The State Government shall take measures for abatement of noise including noise emanating from vehicular movements, blowing of horns, bursting of sound emitting firecrackers, use of loudspeakers or public address system and sound producing instruments and ensure that the existing noise levels do not exceed the ambient air quality standards specified under these rules.
Section 8 (8). Power to prohibit etc. continuance of music sound or noise.
(1) If the authority is satisfied from the report of an officer in charge of a police station or other information received by him that it is necessary to do so in order to prevent annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury or risk of annoyance, disturbance, discomfort or injury to the public or to any person who dwell or occupy property on the vicinity, he may, by a written order issue such directions as he may consider necessary to any person for preventing, prohibiting, controlling or regulating:
(a) the incidence or continuance in or upon any premises of -
(i) any vocal or instrumental music,
(ii) sounds caused by playing, beating, clashing, blowing or use in any manner whatsoever of any instrument including loudspeakers, public address systems, horn, construction equipment appliance or apparatus or contrivance which is capable of producing or re-producing sound, or
(iii) sound caused by bursting of sound emitting fire crackers or,
(b) the carrying on in or upon, any premises of any trade, avocation or operation or process resulting in or attended with noise.
(2) The authority empowered under sub-rule (1) may, either on its own motion, or on the application of any person aggrieved by an order made under sub-rule (1), either rescind, modify or alter any such order:
I hereby bring to your kind attention the excessive noise of dhol-tasha instruments ad per the Report below and clearly covered under Section 3(3) and 8(8).
I request that the exemption given for four days of Ganpati 2013 be strictly implemented in accordance with law and that use of dhol-tasha should be regulated under Section 3(3) and 8(8) to prevent noise pollution in any Silence or Residential Zone or after 10pm.
This year, for the first time, affected citizens all over Mumbai will be recording noise pollution on their own using a free downloadable App called ‘Noise Watch’ developed by the European Environment Agency. The readings will be sent to a GIS map and also posted on a facebook page ‘Citizens’ Noise Map’. The data generated will give a holistic pattern of citizens’ noise exposure during Ganpati and help to monitor compliance of noise rules all over the city in an open, participatory way with direct citizens’ involvement.
Thank you and with regards
Report on Noise levels Mumbai Dhol-tasha practice for Ganpati 2013 Pune
6th September 2013 6.30 – 7.30 pm
River Ghats, chie Pune
6th September 2013