To learn the extent of noise pollution ailing the city’s environment, the Delhi government is about to weave a network of automatic noise-measuring devices across the city.
At six locations covering the length and breadth of the city including trans-Yamuna Anand Vihar, the devices will work round the clock and throw up real-time noise data, so far unavailable to the Capital’s pollution watchdog.
The data will also be linked to a central server for easy access. But as a bonus of this exercise, the devices to be installed at IGI Airport and RK Puram in south Delhi will give a real idea of how much noise the aircraft cause at neighbourhoods on the flightpath to and from the airport.
“We will be installing them at six locations, like Civil Lines, Punjabi Bagh and other places, wherever our pollution monitoring stations are established,” said Delhi environment secretary Dharmendra.
Residents of Vasant Kunj and nearby areas where people have been complaining about excessive noise of aircraft landings and takeoffs for the past two years said the new monitoring will throw light on what they have been saying all along.
“No one will be able to question the official noise data now that the government itself will be monitoring them. We are sure that the data will expose our plight to the authorities, who have been denying it all along,” said Anil Sood, director of NGO Chetna and resident of Vasant Kunj. He along with fellow residents has moved court on this issue. The high court is hearing the matter.
South Delhi residents have been complaining about aircraft noise because most international flights operate in the dead of night and their movement causes ear-splitting noise at the residential areas.
Fed up of complaining to various authorities, the residents brought their own handheld noise meters to put a figure to their agony two years ago.
“To our horror we found that the noise during aircraft movement ranged between 72 and 92 decibels, whereas the standard limit is just 45,” Sood said.
With over 60 lakh vehicles plying on Delhi’s roads, the level of noise pollution has always been high in Delhi. Last year the union ministry of environment and forests notified new noise pollution standards which are stricter than the previous ones.
In a 2007 study of noise pollution in Delhi, the Central Pollution Control Board said, “People are exposed to dangerous levels of noise… whether it is from loud music, a motorcycle, aeroplane or lawnmovers.”