Indian metros are not just the nosiest in the country but in the world as well and the high decibel levels are a potential health risk.
Mumbai leads the loud pack followed by Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. The ITO in Delhi and Bandra in Mumbai are nosier than the busiest parts of London, New York and Beijing.
Average day time noise in seven big Indian cities is much higher than the national standard of 65 decibel (dB) ampere.
Noise above 80dB can cause hearing impairment, especially among children, say the new World Health Organisation guidelines. Above 30dB can cause sleeping disorders, effect spoken communication and cardiovascular activity. It can also trigger negative social behaviour.
“Vehicles are the biggest contributors to high noise level in Indian cities. Constant honking aggravates the problem,” said SP Gautam, chairperson of pollution watchdog the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Most places where high levels of noise were recorded were next to busy roads, according to the real-time data collected from 35 locations in seven cities.
The findings were released Wednesday, a decade after noise standard was notified in the country. "Noise-level testing of vehicles is not mandatory in India like in the West," said Gautam. Deafening
For environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the findings are a new weapon to push cities to streamline traffic and adhere to the 65dB mark. "As the data is available real time, the states can devise traffic plans for actual time intervention," he said.
The CPCB had set up noise-monitoring stations in seven cities and these would be expanded to 25 cities within a year. The number of stations in metros will also be increased.