Awaaz starts people's campaign against noise
Awaz Foundation members at the launch of ‘Gods Against Noise’, the first campaign under ‘Your Voice against Noise’
VIRAT A SINGH | Thu, 1 Sep 2016-07:55am , DNA
Initiative is to make citizens act as pressure group on govt to ensure implementation of rules
Enthused by the rising number of people and citizen groups raising their voice against increasing noise pollution, Awaaz Foundation has initiated a collaborative campaign, 'Your Awaaz against Noise', asking Mumbaikars to act as a pressure group on state government to ensure all the rules pertaining to anti-noise pollution laws are followed.
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor of Awaaz Foundation, said that in last one year the number of people who have come out on the streets against noise pollution — be it honking or noise due to religious functions — has gone up and this means the awareness we have been trying to spread since a long time is bearing fruit. "People question us about what can they do, and to solve it we decided to initiate this campaign, which can be used by people like a platform for raising various issues related to noise pollution in their neighbourhood. We will be equipping them with all information as well as anti-noise pollution laws and material required for campaigning," said Abdulali adding that they felt a strong need for such a collaborative campaign.
The first campaign under the 'Your Voice against Noise' announced is 'Gods Against Noise', keeping the festival season in mind.
"Politicians are accusing us that we are against religion or religious festivals but we want to tell them that no religion has ever preached creating loud noise that affects and disturbs others. In fact, we want to urge politicians to encourage their people to avoid using DJs, musical instruments and amplifiers during visarjan days has serious implication on the health of people," said Dr Mahesh Bedekar, a Gynecologist who runs a hospital in Thane and had filed a PIL against the noise during religious festivals. He also cited the example of Kolhapur where some politicians had decided to do away with noisy processions during Ganeshotsav and it was the right example to follow.
Bedekar said that till now individual people have been fighting against noise pollution, which was the reason why it was being ignored and hence under this campaign when citizens join in large number and begin carrying out not only awareness but also seeking implementation of the rules even the government machinery. "There has been several studies that have proved that loud noise has serious impacts on the health of pregnant women as well as the foetus.," he said.
Dr MV Jagade, an ENT surgeon from JJ Hospital, said that they have seen that the number of cases of complete hearing as well as partial hearing loss spiraling in last few years. "Noise pollution is huge concern as it causes several ailments including cardio-vascular diseases, hypertension and others that can have long term impact. One of the immediate thing it can cause it irritability and increase stress and hence it's high time people wake up and accept that it's a serious issue and begin taking measures including practicing that they themselves will not be contributors to noise pollution," he said.
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Cops must go after organisations to curb noise menace: Sumaira Abdulali
PRANALI LOTLIKAR CHINDARKAR | Thu, 25 Aug 2016-08:00am , DNA
Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali said that in India, involvement of political parties in these matters further encourages people to violate the norms.
While the Mumbai police attempt to enforce the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act by taking strict action against individual violators, experts feel this won't do much to curb the nuisance of noise pollution, as in that case, mostly organisations are involved. They furthet claimed that these organisations don't take police action in individual cases seriously.
Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali said that in India, involvement of political parties in these matters further encourages people to violate the norms. "I remember in 2008, as many as 600 cases of sound pollution were registered against various organisations in Mumbai. To my knowledge, however, political leader Ajit Pawar ordered the state to withdraw all those cases," she said.
She further said that while prosecuting individual accused, the government's intention should be sincere. "Now that the law is stringent enough and the police have already started acting against individuals, they should not go on the back foot while criminalising such people and organisations," she said.
Abdulali added, "The immediate step that the police need to take is to seize the equipment of such organisations and then file a criminal case against the trustees and the workers. The issue of noise pollution is not as simple as it appears. It can cost an ailing person his or her life. It takes a toll on infants as well. So, it is high time to get serious now."
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Schoolchildren join fight against noiseToyoja Upadhyay| TNN | Aug 17, 2016, 12.36 AM IST
Mumbai: Students of Trinity International, Sion (E), and Little Angels High School, King Circle, participated in Times of India's 'No Honking Drive' initiative in collaboration with Awaaz foundation and Times Newspaper in Education (NIE). The sessions were curated by Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation, and aimed at educating students about the effects of sound pollution.
The 'No Honking Drive' has been visiting schools as studies show children are most susceptible to excessive sound pollution. The students listened in rapt attention as they began to realize the magnitude of the threat that sound pollution poses.
Deafness, inability to concentrate on academics, aggression and irritation are just some of the symptoms caused by sound pollution. Saisudha Narayan, principal of Little Angels High School, makes it a point to educate her students about the impact of sound pollution.
"It is important that we maintain appropriate decibel levels because the eardrums are incredibly sensitive to noise. Over time, we could lose our hearing and in extreme cases of sound pollution, our eardrums could even burst," she said.
Mumbaikars have a lot to worry about since Mumbai has been declared as the noisiest city in the world according to the WHO. Abdulali said, "While it is true that during festivals and parties we see a steep rise in decibel levels, honking is the biggest contributor to sound pollution since it occurs all year round."
Vinita D'souza, ex-officio secretary of Trinity International, had to make her point over the sounds of blaring horns from the nearby road despite being seated in her air-conditioned cabin. "I try to address sound pollution at every opportunity I get. Schools are supposed to be a part of silent zones but often they are the nosiest spots due to honking and traffic jams caused by school buses, parents' vehicles and, rickshaws, taxis and hawkers. I have made parents take a pledge to address sound pollution. For the students, as an incentive, we have introduced some healthy competition by telling them that whichever house keeps noise to the minimum will be rewarded with points. Hopefully thanks to TOI's initiative, we will see some change."
Awaaz Foundation's anti- noise pollution campaign has been covered extensively in the Press and media since 2003.