The increased air traffic at India’s major airports is now a cause of concern for the environmentalists. The time an aircraft hovers over the airport, waiting to land, the emission levels in the air increases and it also causes more noise levels.
In monitoring of noise levels done by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in some residential colonies around Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Airport in Kolkata, the noise levels were found to be higher than the notified ambient noise standards. The notified noise level for residential areas is 55 decibel during day hours and 45 db during night hours.
According to the monitoring, the noise levels, especially during peak landing hours, were much higher than the standard prescribed. "The increase in the air traffic at the airports, particularly in metro cities, is one of the major sources contributing to noise levels in the vicinity of airports," said minister of State for Environment and Forest Namo Narian Meena, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
Environment officials, however, added the monitoring agencies have observed an increase in noise pollution levels in the past one and a half years since the air traffic has increased. "There is a correlation between the two. But, further studies are required to scientifically justify the link," a senior ministry official said.
To find the exact cause of higher noise levels in residential colonies near airports, the CPCB has commissioned a study to the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, to determine the cause of increase in noise pollution levels in residential colonies around Delhi’s international airport. The institute will also monitor ambient noise levels in vicinity of the airport. The study report is expected by next year.
Ministry officials also said that the presence of more aircrafts in air would obviously lead to more emission of polluting substances but no study has been done to analyse the level of air pollution it causes. The need for such a study was not felt, an official said, as the pollutants disperse into higher air, thereby not directing affecting human health.
In a bid to strengthen, monitoring of pollution - air and noise - around airports the board is developing procedure to monitor the pollution levels. "We have initiated preparation of a document on ‘procedure for monitoring ambient noise levels around airports due to aircrafts’, which would be finalised shortly," an official said.
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