In a first in India, the Mumbai international airport will now be able to identify aircraft that are the noisiest during take-offs, landing and during parking, round-the-clock .
To reduce the impact of noise around residential areas, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has installed NoiseDesk ---- a web-based noise-monitoring system, which is replicated from London’s Southend Airport.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, has a manual noise-monitoring system and not a web-based one.
The move comes after India’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA), issued a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) in January 2015 to contain noise around airports and conduct noise-mapping on the premises because of increase in new airlines that lead to high-noise levels.
Unlike some international airports India has no safety limits set for noise during take-offs and landings. For instance, the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, has a noise limit of 99 decibels (dB), and it’s 118.4dB at the Rio de Janeiro – Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, Brazil.
Two stationary-noise-monitoring terminals have been installed under the take-off and landing flight paths, and a mobile unit on the airfield allows the airport to respond to noise pollution issues and reduce impact through noise abatement procedures.
“The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has implemented the comprehensive-noise-monitoring system based on the specifications of the DGCA and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to analyse aircraft noise impact on communities,” said a MIAL spokesperson.
“The state-of-the-art noise-monitoring system is simple to use and seamlessly connects with other data sources such as flight tracks and weather systems.”
Formerly known as Sahar International Airport, CSIA Mumbai, witnesses approximately 36 million passengers, 7lakh tons of cargo every year and manages more than 750 aircraft movements daily, making it one of the busiest airports in India.
According to MIAL officials, when any noisy event occurs, one push of a button gives information about the most-likely cause of the disturbance. This enables the airport to promptly respond to the issue, share information internally and resolve to the occurrence.
Officials at the airport said maximum noise complaints emanate from jet engine-related problems. After identifying the source of noise, the aircraft is taken to the hangar where the problem is rectified and the aircraft resumes flight.
Santacruz resident Ruchi Pandey, 54, said noise monitoring was the need of the hour.
“We go through sleepless nights because of very high noise levels from aircraft, especially during take-offs. The steps taken are welcome but the airport authorities need to install noise barriers along the periphery of the airport,” she said.
According to a noise-monitoring survey carried out by city-based NGO Awaaz Foundation at a residential area less than 3km from the city airport, the average decibel (dB) levels were recorded between 85 and 87dB as against permissible standards of 55dB and 45dB during the day and night.
“While web-based noise monitoring will help keep a track of real-time noise levels, airport authorities need to issue helpline numbers to nearby residents so that they can file complaints when noise standards are breached,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
“It also has to be observed whether the implementation of the system is actually reducing noise at source.”
No permissible noise standards at Indian airports
While no airports in India have safety limits when it comes to noise pollution, some international airports maintain noise levels during takeoffs and landings
According to the Noise Pollution (Control and Regulations), 2000, aircrafts generate an unbearable roar during takeoffs and landings. Aircraft noise is obstructive, persistent and unpleasant besides being a serious health hazard for the communities living near airports. Precautions airports should take:
- Aerodrome should be located away from the city and the growth of the city should not be allowed to extend up to the aerodrome
- Aeroplanes should take off in direction radically away from the city
- Night-time operations of the aircraft should be minimised
- During maintenance and repairs of the aeroplane, workers should use ear puffs.