27th July 2010
Hon’ble Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh,
Ministry of Environment and Forests,
New Delhi – 110 003.
Dear Hon’ble Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh,
Subject: Maharashtra State Government’s intended amendment of Silence Zone notifications
Last year, you were kind enough to consider our suggestions to amend the Noise Pollution Rules to make them more stringent in the amendment of January 2010. We are now alarmed to note that the Maharashtra State Government intends to soften the Rules even beyond the earlier version which operated for many years, by changing the existing notifications for Silence Zones to exclude most of the already notified areas.
This would be achieved by redefining hospitals and educational institutions and we understand that the primary motivation for this is so that politicians may hold rallies even near hospitals etc. Some news articles are attached which contain statements of stakeholders regarding demarcation of Silence Zones in Mumbai, including politicians and ordinary citizens who have fought for their areas to be notified as Silence Zones.
Awaaz Foundation has measured noise levels during festivals from 2003. I enclose some Press cuttings regarding recent noise measurements. It may be seen that noise levels far exceed those prescribed, especially in sensitive areas which have been defined as Silence Zones when loudspeakers or firecrackers are used.
Hospitals where a few patients are admitted are as vulnerable to the ill effects of noise as larger institutions and sometimes are even less insulated. These form the bulk of maternity homes, private nursing homes and government dispensaries where people in crowded Mumbai seek treatment, across all income groups. The sum total of patients admitted to such private hospitals would arguably be more than those admitted to the few larger hospitals. A similar situation would be valid for all the other institutions which make up the Silence Zones of Mumbai.
The Noise Pollution Rules of the MoEF clearly define courts, hospitals and educational institutions in Section 2(d) (e) and (f) and there is no scope for any State Government to go beyond these existing definitions:
2d) “court” means a governmental body consisting of one or more judges who sit to adjudicate disputes and administer justice and includes any curt of law presided over by a judge, judges or a magistrate and acting as a tribunal in civil, taxation and criminal cases;
The overwhelming majority of residents of Mumbai are against being disturbed by noise from politically controlled festivals and rallies. We fear that that this regressive step would result in long term adverse health effects on residents of Mumbai and request your intervention to ensure this does not happen.
Thank you and with regards.
State asks min to take sound steps for silence zones
Viju B & Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN, Jul 7, 2010, 01.21am IST
MUMBAI: At the meeting on Tuesday, a delegation, led by chief minister Ashok Chavan and senior officials from the state environment department, urged Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh to revise the demarcation of silence zones in the city.
State environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh said they were keen to implement the Delhi model to demarcate the silence zones and classify the areas based on population density and noise-sensitivity. "The state also plans to revise the norms and re-demarcate silence zones in the city," Singh said. The silence zones were demarcated by the state, following a Bombay high court directive in February 2009.
Singh said the Union minister did not reject the proposal. "Ramesh said he would look into the legal aspect and take a decision," Singh said.
A senior Union ministry of environment official said central rules stated that up to 100 metres from hospitals, educational institutions and courts should be silence zones. "The central rules cannot be changed," the official said, adding that quasi-judicial bodies, seminaries, nursing homes, clinics and universities also fell in silence zones. "The rules say that the state should take measures against those abetting noise pollution."
Not keen on state going in for a change in sound norms, anti-noise pollution activists said the central rules could not differ from state to state. Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation said, "How can one demarcate silence zones according to the population density?" She added, "It is for the welfare of Mumbaikars that these anti-noise rules should not be diluted."
Copyright © 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service
Silence will be golden at Shivaji Park
Friday, May 7, 2010 3:28 IST
An inspiration for others affected by the problem Declaring Shivaji Park as a silence zone is really appreciable. After six years of battling frequent noise and din from political rallies, residents are able to get the high court order. Now when there is court order residents will be relaxed. It is very important to realise that more than any rally or party function, peace and health are more important for all residents. This order can be an inspiration for many people who are suffering from noise pollution. We must accept that the menace of noise is growing everywhere in the city. Citizens must come together and oppose such hazard. Moreover the government must ensure that silence zone rules must be followed by politicians. They should not remain applicable to common people only. Rules must be same for everyone. For keeping the environs silent, people should report any violation promptly. —Sumaira Abdulali, founder, Awaaz Foundation
People should know the rules to battle ahead T he high court's order is a great relief for the residents of Shivaji Park.Firstly, one of the residents checked the level of noise pollution of loudspeakers used in political and other rallies, with an instrument. It revealed that the decibel level was quite high and this was the reason why many people residing near Shivaji Park felt some discomfort. So the residents approached the civic corporation but they did nothing to resolve the problem of noise pollution. We then moved to the Maharashtra state Pollution Control Board and they declared that there was grave noise pollution despite many residential colonies, schools and religious places. They sent a recommendation to state government too. People also got a copy of the Noise Pollution Rules 2004. But it didn’t yield any results. So in the end people filed a public interest litigation and finally won the battle. You must get the list of silence zones from your ward office. If the list says that your area comes under the jurisdiction of silence zones and no rules are being followed then you can approach the authority. —Ashok Ravat, founder, member Shivaji Park ALM
Motorists violate norms as well It’s a good move and should help in ensuring that one of the most iconic landmarks becomes a peaceful place. Similar bans should be instituted at other places as well. It comes across as a huge menace especially for students. Spending quality time with friends or family almost becomes impossible because of blaring loudspeakers at festivals and during elections. The ban acknowledges the growing problems that people are facing. However, motorists blare horns in front of various silence zones like shrines, schools and hospitals and clinics. During festivals and elections these rules are completely forgotten. These silence zones need to be followed with utmost sincerity. —Preeti Doiphode, associate consultant
More realisation about hazard This is a big relief for all residents, especially senior citizens who are in a majority in this area. People are becoming conscious about the environment and realise that noise pollution is a growing menace and silent hazard in the city. Other steps which can be taken to curb the menace are shifting rallies by political parties and other functions to non-residential areas. Also, nobody adheres to the 10 pm deadline so the culprits should be dealt seriously. This will deter people from blaring loudspeakers for public or private functions. More awareness should be created about silence zones across the city and ensure that everyone respects them. —Devlina Dutt, management associate
Loud revelry is not celebration The move is welcome though, I’m not sure of the application of the ruling. I hope political parties do not appeal against the ruling. In a sense this is an acknowledgment that the problem of noise pollution needs to be addressed. But importantly, it will be good if we look at the attitude of our citizens. Celebrating any occasion with loud music, without having any consideration for other residents is not correct. The attitude of most citizens needs to change, only then will legal steps be helpful. Unless we change our attitude, curbing the menace drastically will not be possible. Political parties also need to show concern. The educated class of the city needs to alter their cultural activities. —Harshal Shah, finance consultant
Gatherings are to bind people It is completely justified to ban loudspeakers in public places. Noise pollution is a great nuisance, especially for senior citizens, infants and young children appearing for exams. Noise pollution can be curbed by using loudspeakers only in private forums. Political and cultural activities are meant to bind people and hence should be conducted in a conducive manner. Shivaji Park has several residential colonies and it will be selfish to not keep their well-being in mind. Closed private auditoriums can be made use of for these occasions. If it is feasible for us to create huge sound-proof auditoriums for these purposes, it will be of great use. —Divya Hinge, PR professional
Apply the law to politicians too Declaring the area as a silence zone will be effective and a welcome move. However the government should ban loudspeakers all over Mumbai, not only in Shivaji Park. There should be a rule prohibiting use of loudspeakers especially on roads. The law must be applicable to everyone including politicians. This is a good step taken towards curbing noise pollution, but other measures must be taken to curb the problem in Mumbai immediately. There are some more initiatives to discourage noise pollution. Firstly, politicians shouldn’t be allowed to speak on the roads and canvas for candidates during the election. Secondly, during festivals people should not be allowed to put loudspeakers on the road. —Jaya Mistry, admin executive
Need time limit on other days I’m happy that finally Shivaji Park is declared as silence zone. I have been residing here for almost 25 years and the misuse of the playground for political and religious rallies has led to the menace of noise pollution throughout the year. However I’m unsure about what will happen during Ganesh Chaturthi. During the festivities, there is chaos and loud music for eleven days. If they can resolve and tone down the festivities, it will be appreciated. Also they need to put some restriction and cut-off time on the use of loudspeakers for dates like Republic Day and Ambedkar Jayanti. Also there is a senior citizens’ enclosure, it will benefit them to a large extent. —Jimit Shah, account executive
©2010 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.
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Political leaders upset with Bombay high court's decision on Shivaji Park
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 21:46 IST
The high court today directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to notify the ground, favourite venue of political parties for rallies, as a silence zone.
"The park is a historic place and many big leaders, including Indira Gandhi, have addressed people there," Bhujbal said. "Rallies organised by parties are a part of democracy to express their view."
The sprawling ground is also the venue of the Shiv Sena's annual Dussehra rally.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said, "This is a very harsh decision. It is true that the ground should be reserved for players instead of other programmes. But MCGM can hike the rent of the ground so that limited programmes would take place."
The court, in response to a public-interest petition, said programmes can be held at the park only on December 6, the death anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, May 1, the foundation day of Maharashtra state, and January 26.
Fri, 12 Feb 2010 -
Noise levels this festive season considerably low
Posted: Sep 28, 2009 at 0320 hrs IST
Mumbai Like Ganeshotsav Mumbaikars seem to be keen on celebrating a noiseless Dussera. Apart from the recent high court ruling upholding the noise deadline, lack of funds due to recession and the ongoing cricket series appear to be the reasons behind the muted celebrations.
On Saturday Newsline surveyed areas from Bandra to Colaba between 8 pm and 10 pm and found that while celebrations were on in full swing across the city, use of loudspeakers, bursting of firecrackers or playing of loud music was almost nonexistent. Noise levels were considerably low even in areas near Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi, Shivaji Park and Worli where several pandals were set up for dandiya celebrations.
In a one off incident city NGO Awaaz Foundation found loudspeakers being used at a mandal opposite KEM Hospital and within the silence zone.
“We checked noise levels twice in the area. The decibel levels recorded at the boundary of KEM Hospital was 81dB when the loudspeakers were on and 68dB when they were switched off. Incidentally, the madal also flaunted banners and posters of the Shiv Sena ,” Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz said.
The NGO also surveyed silent zones near Tata Memorial Hospital, Sion hospital and Holy Family Hospital in Sion and found that while the mandals were lighted they were not noisy. “Loudspeakers were permitted up to 10 pm and on September 23, 24 readings were taken between 8 pm and 10 pm in the area between Bandra, Sion, Dadar, Wadala, Hindmata and Dharavi. For the most part, mandals were well-lighted but did not use loudspeakers,” Abdulali said.
However, slum areas in Gamdevi, Wadala and Dharavi, were exceptions, the NGO stated. “However, decibel levels were comparatively lower than the previous years (between 75 and 83dB),” it explained.
On September 24, Awaaz recorded decibel levels in the western and eastern suburbs; at Perry Cross Road in Bandra the decibel level exceeded 90 dB. Callers from Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, also complained of high noise levels from several mandals, the NGO said.
“While the police have been stringent about the 10 pm deadline, it is seen that much needs to be done in controlling decibel levels. However, it is heartening that there is awareness among people,” Abdulali said.
SoBo residents score over loud celebrations
TNN, 4 January 2010, 03:34am IST
MUMBAI: South Mumbai residents had a sound start to the new decade. The police department has agreed to deploy two constables at each of the five gymkhanas adjoining the Cooperage Ground and those along the Marine Drive to keep a check on noisy wedding celebrations. In an undertaking submitted to the police, all the gymkhanas and the associations that manage the playgrounds have promised to ensure that the celebrations do not cross the permissible sound levels.
All this has been possible due to the sustained efforts of several residents’ associations from south Mumbai and city-based NGOs. In fact, the Oval-Cooperage Residents’ Association and the Marine Drive Residents’ Association have been campaigning against noisy celebrations at these venues for over a year.
Recently, residents, along with members of the NGOs, met police commissioner D Shivanandan, who promised to take stringent action under the Bombay Police Act against the violators.
“We hope that this year our kids would be able to study peacefully and senior citizens can sleep without disturbance,’’ said said Dev Mehta, president of Oval Cooperage Residents’ Association.
According to south Mumbai residents, they have to put up with at least three wedding processions daily during the wedding season, which begins at the end of December and goes on till March. “The noisy celebrations continue till the wee hours. The loud music makes it impossible to sleep. We had complained to the local police on many occasions, but there was no response all these years,’’ Mehta said.
Pointing out that some of gymkhanas are reserved as playgrounds, Mehta said the associations responsible for their maintenance grant permissions for celebrations. “The associations claim that the funds received from the organisers are spent to maintain the grounds, but these celebrations leave the grounds damaged. Moreover, owing to the large number of weddings that take place at these grounds, youngsters hardly get a chance to play.’’
Said Nayana Kathpalia, committee member of Oval-Cooperage Residents’ Association, “Even if just four marriages take place in a week, the grounds are off limits to citizens as pandals are put up.’’
Kiran Agarwal of Marine Drive Residents’ Association concurred with Mehta and Kathpalia.
Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation, which had filed a PIL following which the Bombay high court directed the state to earmark silent zones, said that noise pollution rules of 2000 state that no firecrackers, loudspeakers, bands be permitted in the silent zone. “We are glad that residents have won this battle against noise polluting offenders. I am also thankful to the police department for their support and cooperation,’’ Abdulali said.
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Court raps state on noise pollution rules
Posted: Friday , Dec 11, 2009 at 0105 hrs
The Bombay High Court on Thursday pulled up the state government for not implementing noise pollution rules and guidelines. The court was miffed that the government did nothing on their own unless ordered by the court.
“Why don’t you lock up your offices, we will run it from here,” a division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A M Khanwilkar said on Thursday. “The High Court is running your department, which is practically true,” the court said.
Meanwhile, the government has filed an affidavit regarding compliance of noise regulations by the environmental department and the pollution control board. It has further submitted guidelines for development of helipads and heliports and criteria for granting and refusing permission in urban areas. The submissions were made in response to a petition filed by NGO Awaz Foundation and others, seeking implementation of 2000 rules.
Petitioner Sumaira Abdulali will be filing an affidavit as she has pointed out that the state government has submitted incomplete guidelines regarding development of helipads. In the guidelines which are divided into three sections, the state’s affidavit has omitted the point that Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai should ensure that cost of proposed activity is less than Rs five crore before giving final permission. The state’s affidavit has also omitted ten conditions that have to be adhered to after commissioning of the project. This includes maintaining of noise levels prescribed for residential areas during day time and night time. Other conditions include stopping of any activity immediately on its own upon receiving valid complaints regarding air or noise pollution or misuse of helipad.
The government can also use the helipad and helicopter in case of any emergency, disaster without any prior notice. The owner of the helipad should be responsible for public nuisance and noise pollution including echo-effect due to surrounding high rise buildings. During arguments it was pointed out by petitioner’s lawyer Mallika Iyer that demarcation of silence zones and mapping the zones are yet to be done.
The court observed that if the state plans to demarcate zones like, courts, schools, hospitals and religious places, signboards will have to be installed all over Mumbai. The government, however, has passed the buck to the corporation stating that the latter is in charge of demarcating zones.
Noting that the state government is not concerned with the issue, the High Court refused to pass any orders and adjourned the hearing till January.
© 2010 The Indian Express Limited. All rights reserved
Keep it low on counting day
By: Urvashi Seth
This is today's agenda for Mumbai police. Cops armed with decibel meters will punish candidates who exceed permitted noise levels Winners of the Maharashtra Assembly polls must ensure they don't go overboard with victory celebrations. After
Awaaz band: Cops have been instructed to use decibel meters on counting day to maintain noise levels in the city
the city witnessed one of the noisiest Diwalis this year, the Mumbai police will ensure post poll celebrations remain peaceful. Commissioner of Police D Sivanandan said, "I have instructed all police officers to use decibel meters on counting day to maintain noise levels in the city. We will act strictly against violators." Not feasible "The Mumbai police had purchased 120 decibel meters during the Lok Sabha polls. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) provided them an additional 30 and trained the cops on using them," explained Dr B D Wadde, regional officer, Mumbai region, MPCB. "The police should use the meters of counting day too," he added. A senior inspector, who did not wish to be named, said, "It is not feasible to stop thousands of people from bursting fire crackers." During Diwali A survey conducted by the NGO Awaaz Foundation, which spreads pollution awareness, found that the city had flouted the 10 pm ban on bursting crackers. "We got around 150 complaints of crackers being burst post 10 pm during Diwali. This was more than the complaints we've received in the last two years," said Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation. She blamed the lack of police presence and deliberate disabling of the police control room helpline (100) for the noise pollution. The decibel levels 125 dB: The cap on firecracker sounds as per an SC order 145 dB: All firecrackers, except for flowerpots and sparklers, are around this decibel 55: The permissible decibel level during the day 45: The permissible decibel level at night 85: The decibel level that can damage human ears 1.5 lakh: Schoolchildren who had vowed not to burst noisy crackers this Diwali
Noise pollution norms go up in smoke this year
Despite Silence Zones, festive season turns out noisier than ever, with people blatantly flouting laws and not a cop in sight to rein them in
By Mumbai Mirror Bureau
Posted On Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 04:58:57 AM
With 1,113 Silence Zones demarcated across the city, and rules pertaining to noise pollution in place, one expected this Diwali to be a lot less noisy. On the contrary, it turned out noisier than last year.
Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation went around the city - only to find fire crackers being blatantly burst in Silence Zones. And the cops nowhere to be seen.
Having monitored noise levels at various locations during Diwali, in a comprehensive report Abdulali has said that in most places people burst crackers way beyond the 10 pm deadline. Abdulali had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court that led to the imposition of the 10 pm deadline and the declaration of Silence Zones.
“In Bandra and on Marine Drive, the 10 pm deadline was not observed and crackers were burst past midnight. On October 17, people started bursting crackers in full swing after 9 pm. There was no police presence in any area of the city and no patrol vans or beat marshalls,” the report said.
In Silence Zones too, rules were flouted with fireworks being burst without any check and no deadlines. “In several Silence Zones like Breach Candy Hospital, Perry Cross Road (Bandra) and Raheja Hospital among others, residents burst crackers without any fear of authority,” she said.
The report states that illegal firecrackers such as sutli bombs and chain crackers, which were confiscated prior to Diwali 2008, were back and were burst on streets with cars passing over them seconds later.
What appalled Abdulali most was that the police were nowhere to be seen, even at prominent places like Marine Drive and Bandra. “I tried calling the control room No 100 several times, but in vain. Once it took me almost half an hour of persistent calling to get a response. Sadly though, the person at the other end said no senior officer was available at the control room and hence such complaints could not be processed,” she said.
The report has been sent to the chief minister and senior police officers. Both Police Commissioner D Sivanandhan and Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner (law and order), were unavailable for comment.
Revellers were found bursting crackers inside the Cama and Albless Hospital, a designated Silence Zone, on Monday
The silver lining
Though noise pollution norms were blatantly flouted across the city, Awaaz Foundation’s Sumaira Abdulali saw a silver lining at Marine Drive.
“At precisely 10 pm, nearly 75 per cent of people bursting crackers voluntarily stopped and either left or sat quietly on the parapet. The awareness campaigns have clearly been effective, and the majority have expressed their desire to have clear limits on firecrackers,” she said.
She added that it is only a small section of society who refuse to abide by rules and need to be restrained by the police.
This Navratri, noise levels low, revelry still high
This year, Navratri has been a low-key affair — not in the scale of celebrations but in its blaring music.
Navratri organisers are not only tightening security at venues but also ensuring that they do not flout any rules — especially related to noise levels.
Sumaira Abdulali of NGO Awaaz Foundation, that has been measuring decibel levels at Navratri functions for the last six years, said: “This year, the noise levels have dropped dramatically at Navratri venues. Last year, I received around 20-25 complaints about organisers playing loud music, but this year, I received just six complaints.”
Abdulali made the observation after measuring the decibel levels at various venues like Bandra, Sion, Dadar, Antop Hill, Juhu, Goregaon, and Malad for two nights.
The decibel recorded ranged from 59Db-86Db — 59 DB is the lowest in the last six years.
“A level of 86 decibel is a definite decline from the previous years. Last year, the highest was 95 decibel,” said Abdulali.
“We prefer to have Navratri programmes in commercial complexes so that residents are not disturbed. We have always stuck to deadlines and will continue to do so,” said Devendra Joshi, founder-president of Sankalp Dandiya Utsav, one of the biggest Navratri mandals.
“The court order restricting the use of loudspeakers, stricter enforcement by the authorities and greater awareness among the citizens have helped in controlling the noise levels,” added Abdulali.
But there are some bad apples like the pandal set up outside KEM Hospital, which plays blaring dandiya music and speeches given by politicians.
But authorities claim that those found violating rules are taken to task and fined.
“Noise meters have been issued to the police to patrol the decibel levels at mandals during Ganpati and Navratri festivals. The offenders are fined anything between Rs 1, 500 and Rs 3,000 depending on the gravity of the violation,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Manohar Bhoir.
Times of India Mumbai
BMC wants noise ban to be relaxed before Ganpati
Sukhada Tatke, TNN, 1 August 2009, 01:03am IST
MUMBAI: In anticipation of Ganesh festivities later this month, the BMC will request the state to relax the blanket ban on noise pollution.
Following meetings with members of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Mahotsav Committee, civic officials, in keeping with religious sentiments, would now seek guidance from the state to ensure that Ganesh mandals get exemption from silence zone rules. A letter to that effect has been drafted and addressed to home secretary Anna Dani.
"We have had several meetings with Ganesh mandals and realised that this is important. These celebrations help bring people together. We will have to request them to seek exemption from the high court during this period,'' said additional municipal commissioner M Sangle.
Acting on a PIL against noise pollution, the high court, in March, ordered the civic body to demarcate silence zones-areas within 100 m of schools, colleges, hospitals, cemeteries, fire temples and courts. The BMC, on its part, demarcated 1,177 such zones across the city.
If the silence tag from these zones is not removed, some famous Ganesh mandals such as Khetwadi, Nare Park and GSB won't be able to celebrate the festival; immersion rituals cannot be allowed at Girgaum Chowpatty as it falls under a silence zone.
Ganesh mandal officials are hopeful of getting the permission. Noise pollution activists, however, find such a request absurd. "This is a central law. The SC order can't be bent," said activist Sumaira Abdulali.
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Noise less in Mumbai
Survey finds noise levels across the city reduce greatly as compared to last year
By Nilesh Nikade
Posted On Thursday, April 09, 2009 at 03:02:33 AM
Prof Payal Rane and her students record the noise levels outside Churchgate station, which was recently declared as a ‘silence zone’ by BMC
Citizens of Mumbai have a lot to complain about, what with growing recession, crowded public transport, pothole-ridden roads, manic lifestyles, et al. Thankfully, there’s respite from one quarter: A recent survey has revealed that this crazy metropolis has turned into a quieter place in the last one year – with noise levels having gone down by a significant eight to 10 decibels (db)!
Readers will recall that April 7, 2008, was designated as a ‘No-Honking’ day by Mumbai’s traffic police.
Students and teachers at Jai Hind College, Churchgate, therefore, decided to cover the city - armed with decibel meters - to check the effect that the diktat would have on Mumbai’s horn-crazy public.
Under the guidance of Dr Ambika Joshi, Dr Sangita Parab, Prof Udhav Zarekar and Prof Payal Rane, students - from 5 am to 9 pm - measured the noise levels at four places: Charni Road (south Mumbai), Old Nagardas Road at Andheri (western suburb), Daftari Road in Malad (western suburb)and JSD Road in Mulund (eastern suburb).
And although there was no traffic police campaign this year, the students and faculty repeated the exercise again on the same date, and at the same venues, to get a comparative analysis.
“Surprisingly, the average noise levels during morning peak hours have come down from 75db to 65db, whereas levels during the evening have reduced from 72.5db to 67.5db,” said Prof Rane, who initiated the survey.
Rane is also researching her doctorate ‘Noise Mapping: A case study of Mumbai’.
“The eastern suburb saw a significant 15db reduction during the morning peak and 12db reduction during the evening. On the other hand, the noise levels in the western suburbs have gone down by an average of just 4db,” she said.
The main city has also shown a significant loss of 8db in noise levels during morning peak hours. However, levels during the evening peak hours have not changed much.
“The results of this survey are very encouraging,” said DCP Traffic (City) Harish Baijal, who was the brain behind 2008’s ‘No Honking’ drive.
“If noise levels have actually come down without any campaign this year, then it’s great news,” he said.
Interestingly, Baijal also pointed out that last year, on April 7, there were 7,200 honking offences registered, while this year the number was only 800.
So what reduced noise levels in the city?
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of AWAAZ Foundation, had filed a petition in 2003 at the Bombay High Court, demanding completely noise-free ‘silence zones’ across the city. On February 26 this year, the court directed the BMC, the police commissioner, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the state government to demarcate these zones, with the stipulation being that such areas would be 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions, courts and religious institutions.
These zones do not allow the use of bands, loudspeakers, firecrackers or any kind of loud sound beyond the permissible limits of 50db during the day and 40db at night.
The court has further stipulated sound limits for residential zones (55db during day, 45db during night) and commercial zones (65db during day, 60db during night). - with inputs from geeta desai
Sound this out (in decibels)
• Jet aircraft (at 100 metres) 130
• Firecrackers 110
• Rock concert 120
• Train whistle 90
• Chainsaw 90
• Heavy truck traffic 80
• Conversation 60
• Whisper 20
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Comment (4 Comments Received)
what about the noise levels in the bylanes and the backlanes, they too are part of this city called Mumbai. If you really want to know contact me by email and I will show you.
Rita Neewnes, email@example.com Dated : Friday, April 10, 200909:15 AM
I do not understand the logic of Drs. Ambika, Sangita and Professors Udhav and Payal measuring the noise decibels only at 4 places across Bombay. There certainly will be other places which are worst than those mentioned above. Also it goes without saying that the eastern suburbs has never had noise decibels anywhere compared to the western and South Bombay areas. So what's all the fuss about?????? ????
Patrick , firstname.lastname@example.org Dated : Thursday, April 09, 200902:47 PM
What about the noise level of the (silent) rickshaws?
honking will NEVER stop in India, as it's deeply embedded in the mindset that honking is a necessity even if it's not!!!!
Martha Salim Tiwari, email@example.com Dated : Thursday, April 09, 200911:50 AM
Dear students, The only thing the silent part will work is when we put up posters of a dog driving and honking,without reason.The caption' "Dekho Kutta Bhaunk Raha Hai" This would shame anybody who realizes that people are looking at him as a dog. The driver will tuck his tail and quieten down
prafull, firstname.lastname@example.org Dated : Thursday, April 09, 200909:12 AM
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Chembur demands, gets silence zone
By: Varun Singh
Fed up with din from college ground 100m away, citizens use HC ruling to go noise-free In the first-ever citizens' initiative on silence zones since the high court ruling on February 26, residents of Pestom Sagar in Chembur have got their area demarcated as noise free.
This means, playing loud music (up to 110 decibels; your neighbour should not be able to hear it) is banned, as are functions with amplifiers or live music, musical and reverse horns and bursting noisy firecrackers, among others. Flouting the silence zone law attracts a penalty of upto Rs 1 lakh or five years of imprisonment or both. 'Be proactive and get your area notified' Sheetal Sangole, a resident of Pestom Sagar, who spearheaded the move for the area, under the Pestom Sagar Citizens Forum said, "The Somaiya college premises is around 100 m from the Pestom Sagar area and the grounds are used for functions on a regular basis. The noise is unbearable and it disturbs senior citizens and students. Once we heard of the HC order, (see box) we realised the area fell under a silence zone and wrote a letter to the Municipal Commissioner and marked a copy to the ward office. Within two days, the ward office told us that the area had been notified as a silence zone and now boards have been placed around the area." However, Zafar Iqbal, chief Advisor to the Somaiya Trust said he had no idea of the silence zone rule in the area. "We are law abiding citizens and will follow the law," he said. Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of Awaaz Foundation said, "According to the rule if you are 100 metres within a religious place, an educational institute (includes a nursery) or a hospital (includes nursing homes and clinics) you can get the area notified as a silent zone. Be proactive and make sure your area is notified." Adds Yeshwant Oke, the founder secretary of Anti Noise Pollution Committee and the man behind the 10 pm deadline ruled by the Supreme Court agrees that that the BMC, may not be able to notify all the silence zones, though 40 per cent of the city has been done, and hence people should chip in. He said, "There are many institutions that are now using loudspeakers and harassing residents. By writing to the BMC, these residents can get their areas notified," said Oke. Sound this out (in decibels) 130 Jet aircraft (at 100 metres) 110 Fire crackers 120 Rock and roll concert 90 Train whistle 90 Chainsaw 80 Heavy truck traffic 60 conversation 20 Whisper 55 Permissible in a residential zone 85 permissible in a commercial zone.
Court order The Bombay High Court on February 26, directed the BMC, the police commissioner, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the state government to demarcate silence zones in the city. As per an earlier HC order, an area of 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions, courts and religious institutions can be demarcated as silence zones.
Log on to http://www.karmayog.org/redirect/strred.asp?docId=10443 on why noise can kill you slowly What you can do If you want your area to be notified as a silence zone ... >>Write a letter to the municipal commissioner >>In the letter, explain how your area falls under a silence zone >>Send a copy to the ward officer >>The environment officer from the ward will verify and notify the area >>For more clarity, approach the Awaaz Foundation
After HC rap, marked silence (zones) in city
Pandurang Mhaske / DNA
Friday, March 6, 2009 1:20 IST
Mumbai: After the Bombay High Court rap, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has started displaying signboards indicating silence zones.
According to the BMC's survey, Kurla (L ward) has the maximum silence zones (70) while Dongri (B-ward) has the least number of such zones (12). The civic body has identified 1,113 such zones across the city.
As per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000, areas within 100 meters of educational institutions, courts, hospitals and religious places have to be demarcated as silence zones.
"So far, the BMC has put up signboards at 876 places to identify silence zones. Others areas will be covered in the next two days," said RA Rajeev, additional municipal commissioner.
The Bombay High Court had recently slammed state authorities for not identifying the silence zones in the city despite the fact that noise pollution rules came into existence in the year 2000.
An NGO, Awaz Foundation had filed a petition seeking identification of these zones and implementation of noise pollution regulation.
BMC officials said that 2,128 signboards have been prepared to identify silence zones in the city and create awareness among people.
Meanwhile, state authorities have decided to seek for more time for issuance of the notification for the demarcation of the silence zones across Maharashtra. According to the environment department, the notification will take more than a week as it is lengthy procedure.
"We are in the process of issuing a notification asking local bodies across the state to demarcate the silence zones based on the specified guidelines. Issuing a notification needs sanction from various channels including environment minister, law and judicial department and police authorities. This takes a lot of time and hence we have decided to request for more time for the notification." said Valsa Nair Singh, environment department secretary.
(With inputs from Surendra Gangan)
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World | India
Noise pollution activists get new voice
By Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent
Published: 23:22 March 2, 2009
Following a Bombay High Court order on noise pollution, environmentalists are appealing to the public to approach the municipality to get their area included in the "silence zone" if it falls within 100 metres of a religious place, hospital, nursing home, court or educational institution.
Mumbai: Following a Bombay High Court order on noise pollution, environmentalists are appealing to the public to approach the municipality to get their area included in the "silence zone" if it falls within 100 metres of a religious place, hospital, nursing home, court or educational institution.
In lieu of a public interest litigation filed by a non-governmental organisation fighting noise pollution, Awaaz Foundation, over the government not implementing noise control measures, the court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to issue a notification for demarcation of silence zones in Mumbai within a week.
The government will not only act on demarcation of silence zones but also look at measures to control noise during elections.
In 1986, a court-appointed committee had said no loudspeakers or amplifiers could be used during elections, but the government is yet to act on it.
"I request all those citizens who are concerned about the noise levels in their vicinity to write to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure their areas are included as silence zones," said Sumaira Abdul Ali of Awaaz Foundation.
This would mean that in a notified silence zone, permission for the use of loudspeakers will not be issued and no firecrackers, horns or any noise-making devices such as drums will be used, she said.
"It often happens that when a complaint of high noise levels is made to the police, they say they cannot do anything until 10 pm or 12 midnight on certain festival days," she said. That is why this is a good opportunity for people to make certain that no evasive answers regarding applicability of noise rules are given by the police, she added.
The NGO has also advised people to include any other area that needs to be notified provided there is a strong reason. She herself has written to BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak to include areas where old-age homes are located.
Abdul Ali has also appealed to have the Maharashtra Nature Park in Mahim to be notified as a silence zone because it attracts birds and wildlife to its environs.
"The nature park is a valuable educational facility for generating awareness about nature and attracts thousands of schoolchildren and helps encourage interest in our environment," wrote Abdul Ali.
Other areas named by her for inclusion among the silent zones of Mumbai are the St Auxilium Convent School, Pali Hill, St Anne's School and Church, and the mosques in Perry Cross Road and New Kantwadi Road in a west suburb.
Define silent zones in city in a week: HC
Shibu Thomas, TNN, 27 February 2009, 05:30am IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the government to issue a notification to demarcate “silent zones’’ in the city. A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud has given the state government, city police commissioner, BMC and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board a week’s time to publish the notification.
“Tackling noise pollution is of utmost importance for public health,’’ said the judges, while rapping the authorities for passing the buck on the implementation of noise pollution rules enacted in 2000. “It is a pitiable condition. This callous attitude on the part of the authorities must come to an end. All government officers are answerable to the public,’’ added the judges, while hearing a petition filed by the NGO Awaaz.
Identifying and demarcating silent zones—a 100-metre area around hospitals, educational institutions and courts—have been a long-standing demand of activists.
According to the rules, there is a total ban on loudspeakers, horns, musical instruments and the bursting of fire crackers in silent zones. Further, noise mitigation measures would have to be adopted for construction activities in such areas. “Since the zones were not demarcated, complaints to the police about noise violations in silent zones would have little effect,’’ said Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz.
Given the traffic congestion in the city, the background noise due to traffic is always in the range of 70 db to 75 db in Mumbai. “When horns are used, the noise levels go up to 100 decibels. During festivals, due to the bursting of fire crackers, noise levels reach around 140 decibels,’’ said Abdulali.
Advocate Darius Khambatta, counsel for Awaaz, told the court that despite being asked to demarcate zones in August 2008, the BMC had failed to do so. Advocate Uday Warunjikar, counsel for another petitioner, informed the court that though the state government had handed out 166 noise meters to the police across Maharashtra, the equipment was lying in the office of the commissioners.
The court asked the committee headed by principal secretary to verify whether noise level limits have been prescribed, and whether police have have been provided with equipment to measure noise levels, “especially in view of the upcoming elections, when rallies would be held.’’
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High Court fixes responsibility for ‘silence zones’
Tags : mumbai, silence zone
Posted: Friday , Feb 27, 2009 at 0202 hrs
The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Municipal Corporation, Commissioner of Police, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the state government to hold a meeting and chalk out a notification to identify ‘silence zones’ in the city.
The division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also directed the Principal Secretary (Home) to chair the meeting and initiate the notification within one week.
The meeting will have to identify locations where a ‘silence zone’ needs to be created. The noise pollution regulation issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest requires creation of such zones around hospitals, religious places and schools among other places.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Awaaz Foundation alleging that the authorities had failed to control noise pollution in the city. The petitioner complained that no such zones have been identified in Mumbai so far even after the regualtions came in the year 2000.
Petitioner’s counsel Darais Khambata told the High Court that in August 2008 Chief Secretary had held a meeting of the corporation and state officials and directed the corporation to declare the silence zones.
Interestingly, upon the court’s query, corporation lawyer said that ‘boards’ to declare certain areas as ‘silence zones’ are being prepared. The court questioned on how could boards be prepared when the notification is yet to be issued.
The court further seeks information on what equipment has been provided to check noise levels especially during elections.
The court observed that various authorities like the MPCB were shifting burdens on each other to shirk responsibility. The court observed that various orders have been passed earlier and the Chief Secretary himself had taken a decision in August 2008.
“However, relevant part of the decisions remain on paper even after six months,” Chief Justice Kumar observed. The court said that holding meetings are not the object but implementing it on the field should be the government’s aim.