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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Green tribunal glare on aircraft noise

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 17, 2013
First Published: 00:39 IST(17/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:41 IST(17/5/2013)

The National Green Tribunal has asked the Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to respond, by May 28, to a bunch of petitions that claimed noise created by aircrafts is affecting the lives of residents living near the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

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The tribunal heard the matter on Thursday after it was transferred to it from the Delhi High Court since the petitions involved environmental issues. "…it can hardly be disputed that these petitions involve a substantial question relating to the environment," a bench of chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice VK Jain of the high court had said while transferring the case on April 16.

The Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, a super-speciality hospital located near the airport, and residents of Vasant Kunj and Bijwasan had earlier moved the high court and demanded the government take measures to mitigate noise pollution created by planes.

The petitions say the noise created by aircraft range between 75 and 94 decibels, much beyond the permissible limits fixed for residential areas and silent zones and it violated the Noise Pollution Rules, 2000.

Experts say constant exposure to high noise levels can have serious health implications, ranging from deafness to heart conditions to sleep disorders.

Doctors say anything above 85 decibels may be harmful to the ear depending on how long a person is exposed to the noise. Anything above 90 decibels is potentially damaging to the inner ear. Instant damage to the ear can happen if the level of noise is above 140.

The petitions have sought directions to the Delhi International Airport Limited and the Airport Authority of India to take urgent, corrective steps, as residents complained of noise all the time because of the deafening noise of aircrafts flying.

They said the noise compromises their right to healthy life and demanded that the government should not allow DIAL to construct a runway at the airport.

The government has given environment clearance to dial to build the runway. The high court had heard the matter for four years before transferring it.


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