The increasing noise pollution in the capital is affecting lives of people here. Even the ‘Silence Zones’ do not match safety standards.
Noise pollution is associated with many diseases ranging from irreversible hearing loss to anxiety attacks, hypertension and heart diseases. Increase in every 10 decibel makes the sound twice as loud to human ear, thus making health implications serious for a regular commuter in the capital.
According to ENT specialists who are concerned with diagnosis and treatment of disorders of ears, the situation in urban areas is so bad that a 20 decibel loss in hearing among people in cities is now normal.
“People don’t realise that noise is the hidden enemy of man. It affects your entire body,” Dr Yeshwant Oke, who filed the first noise pollution related petition in the Bombay court in 1985, said.
According to a recent study on noise pollution in the capital by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), silence zones didn’t meet the safe standards, especially in areas within 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts.
“Late night jagrans (Hindu ritual of all night vigil), traffic, political rallies and other noises interrupt our sleep and also affects studies,” Vansh Sirohi, a resident of South West Delhi, said.
Another report, ‘status of ambient noise level in India’, released by CPCB earlier in 2016, revealed that noise levels in the silence zones of Delhi College of Engineering, Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology , Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences , two commercial areas of ITO and East Arjun Nagar, highlighted the scale of noise pollution between the years 2011-2014.
Ground for noise disturbances
The problem continues to prevail even after the commencement of real-time monitoring of noise pollution in several cities by CPCB in 2015.
The most common sources of noise pollution are motor vehicles, generator sets, office machines, aircrafts and industrial and construction activities.
Traffic and unnecessary honking have emerged as the major culprits that are adding to the cacophony along with the loudspeakers, which are used without inhibition at religious events, political processions and rallies.
The capital faces a situation of very severe traffic congestion with lakhs of vehicles already on road and thousands being added every day. Honking is a major source of noise pollution apart from the noise generated by traffic.
The traffic police declared 56 stretches in the city along with 100 metres area around 700 traffic signals as no-honking zones where noise checks are done only if there is a specific complaint about a particular vehicle.
A fine of INR 100 is imposed for a violation however it can go up to INR 300. Nearly 1,562 drivers were booked for honking in no-honking zones in 2015.
Noise much beyond the safety limits assails our senses, no matter whether on road or inside of houses. The increased tolerance level cannot make up for the incalculable damage.