Less than a week before the city celebrates Ganeshotsav, anti-noise activists from city based non-profit Awaaz Foundation launched its campaign ‘Gods against Noise’ on Tuesday, to educate citizens about the health hazards of noise pollution.
The campaign is part of ‘Your Awaaz against Noise’, an ongoing year-long awareness drive against noise pollution by the NGO. It was launched with several stakeholders at the Mumbai Patrakar Sangh at Fort along with 20 children.
“Noise is a serious health hazard affecting residents of Mumbai, which is one of the noisiest cities in the world,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “After the Bombay high court recently passed a comprehensive order to curb noise levels during festivals, we hope to make a difference in the way festivals are celebrated this year through this campaign.”
The NGO has been recording noise levels throughout the 10 days of the festival for the past 13 years. While noise levels dropped in 2014, levels were much above permissible limits last year.
Some of the groups that have tied up with Awaaz Foundation for the campaign include Aural Education for the Hearing Imparied (AURED), a therapy centre for deaf children; NGO Down to Earth that mentors children from Mumbai’s BDD chawls; the Indian Medical Association; Thadomal Shahani Centre for Media and Communication, Bandra; Sanskar India Foundation and other anti-noise pollution activists.
Doctors from various fields such as ENT specialists, gynaecologists, cardiologists and psychiatrists jointly spread the message about health issues as part of the campaign. “Exposure to noise pollution above 80 decibels (dB) for eight hours a day for eight years will induce permanent deafness,” said Dr MV Jagade, consultant ENT surgeon and head of department at JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College.
Earlier this year, therapy centre AURED carried out hearing test for 25 traffic policemen and 3,000 slum children from different parts of the city at Mahim. “We observed that more than 50% of all traffic policemen and close to 1,500 children suffered hearing loss,” said Vibha Shah, coordinator, AURED.