Delhi quieter this Diwali, Hyderabad noisiest | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Delhi quieter this Diwali, Hyderabad noisiest

Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Chennai were the noisiest. Daytime Mumbai and Bengaluru at night were the quietest this Diwali.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2017 08:11 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
People burning crackers on the occasion of Diwali in New Delhi on October 19.
People burning crackers on the occasion of Diwali in New Delhi on October 19.(Sonu Mehta/ HT)

This Diwali was the quietest for three years in the national capital, but the noise level was still above the permissible limit in most areas despite a Supreme Court ban on the sale of firecrackers.

According to Central Pollution Control Board data, nine of 10 monitoring sites in the city were less noisy on Thursday than last year’s festival of lights, celebrated on October 30.

A pollution board official, who didn’t wish to be named, said the court restrictions on the sale of firecrackers till November 1 had an effect on the Diwali din.

New Delhi and most Indian cities struggle with a spike in noise and air pollution during the festival when millions of fireworks are lit, especially at night, which add to the routine high-decibel sound from traffic, construction work and loudspeakers in urban areas.

“Noise pollution was worse in the south this year,” the official said.

Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Chennai were the noisiest. Daytime Mumbai and Bengaluru at night were the quietest this Diwali.

About 90% locations in seven major cities breached the safety mark, the data showed, but noise pollution was less than last year in most areas selected for sound checks.

The government-backed national ambient noise monitoring network was set up in 2011 for real-time monitoring of 70 locations in India’s seven largest cities. These sites are split into commercial, industrial, residential and silent zones. Noise standards differ accordingly.

The government has rules on sound from firecrackers, but activists say these are hardly implemented.

“Rather than banning the sale of crackers we need to figure out which crackers are safe,” said Sumaira Abdulali, the convener of AWAAZ Foundation, an anti-noise group.

A World Health Organization study showed five years ago that 27% of India’s billion-strong population suffered from disabling hearing loss, as opposed to 11% in high-income countries. People above 65 were the most susceptible.

“Hearing disability due to noise pollution is becoming worse,” Abdulali said. “People most impacted are the old, sick and infants.”