The latest report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) – which earlier this year adjudged Mumbai India’s noisiest city – has revealed that Andheri and Powai were among the nine quietest urban areas in India during Diwali 2015 and 2016.
The Ambient Noise Level Assessment, conducted at 70 locations in seven cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore and Hyderabad), found that most areas in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai were much quieter than those in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
“Out of 70 locations, only nine locations – two in Bangalore, one in Hyderabad, one in Kolkata, two in Lucknow, and Powai (industrial area) and Andheri (industrial area) in Mumbai – are meeting both the daytime and nighttime standards,” read the report.
The two-year study, conducted at 10 locations in Mumbai, including Thane and Navi Mumbai, showed that Thane, Bandra, Sion and Powai had an increasing noise trend during the day, while the others had a decreasing trend. During the night Sion, Bandra, Kandivali, Thane and Colaba had an increasing trend for noise levels, while noise levels in other five areas were lower than in previous years.
CPCB officials termed it a success story for Mumbai. “The Maharashtra government implemented measures to abate pollution emanating from various sources and saw to it that existing levels did not exceed ambient noise standards this Diwali,” said Dr Dipankar Saha, additional director, CPCB. “Citizens also need to be complimented, since we were notified that the most complaints were filed by Mumbaiites and appropriate action was taken by enforcement authorities.”
Saha added that the model needed to be replicated in cities such as Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. “There is a need for more awareness in other metros and immediate implementation of noise abatement measures such as sound barriers, which Mumbai is already equipped with,” he said.
In February, a CPCB study found Mumbai was the noisiest city in India based on regular ambient noise monitoring from 2011 to 2014. Noise levels recorded by four of five monitoring stations in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane exceeded those laid down in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
Officials in the state environment department said the drop in noise levels was down to citizens’ efforts. “I would like to compliment the efforts of Mumbaiites who voluntarily took up the cause of reducing noise pollution. Only when the people decide to observe a certain discipline does change take place,” said Satish Gavai, principal secretary, state environment department.
Activists said the report was an indication of the progress made in the fight against noise pollution. “It is quite possible that Mumbai does not rank the highest on noise pollution anymore. Several awareness campaigns, enforcement and court orders have resulted in a much quieter Diwali than in previous years,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.