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