The noise report from this year’s Ganeshotsav from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) found an overall drop in decibel (dB) levels in Mumbai as compared to 2015.
MPCB recorded noise levels during all five immersion days across 25 locations in Mumbai, all 26 municipal corporations and 158 locations in the state. The highest noise levels were recorded from Pimpri-Chinchwad, near Pune at 104.35 dB in the state.
According to the data, only eight of the 25 locations recorded noise levels higher than last year’s on the last immersion day of the festival in Mumbai. The area near Ashish Theatre, Chembur (East) was the noisiest at 89.89 dB, which was the highest over all five immersion days this year. However, areas such as Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty, which were the loudest in 2015 at 105.9 dB and 101.8 dB, saw levels drop to 74.68 dB and 74.55 dB.
This year, MPCB has only included the average noise levels (L equivalent for decibels) from each of the 25 locations as opposed to providing the minimum, maximum and time-frame of noise recordings, which was done in previous years.
While noise levels may have dropped, they are still above permissible limits. As per Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, residential and silence zones should have a maximum noise level of 55dB and 50dB in the day and 45dB and 40dB at the night, respectively.
“Through continuous and technical monitoring, there has been a decreasing trend in noise levels not only in Mumbai but Maharashtra as well,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB. “It is clear from our readings that noise pollution has a major impact and citizens understood the significance of such pollution as a persistent problem.”
He added that according to regulations from the Central Pollution Control Board, directions were issued to all municipal commissioners and police commissioners from all districts to keep a check on noise levels. “There are still some areas in the state that need to be sensitised to the issue. Howver, through several campaigns with the state government and media, awareness levels have increased,” said Motghare.
The data also revealed that during the first day of Ganeshostav (September 5) this year in Mumbai, 14 out of 25 locations were noisier as compared to 2015 with Kandivli (West) being the noisiest at 81.53 dB as compared to Grant Road, loudest last year, at 80.9 dB. However, during the second (September 6) and fifth day (September 9) of the festival, only six out of 25 locations had noise levels higher than last year.
During sixth day (September 10), 10 out of 25 locations recorded higher noise levels than 2015 with the area around Elphinstone, Parel being the loudest at 85.78 dB. Last year, Byculla was the noisiest on the sixth day at 90.4 dB.
MPCB officials also pointed out that this year, noise levels at south Mumbai were much lower as compared to the suburbs on all days of the festival . “We carried out zone-wise recording of noise levels and saw that the use of loudspeakers and DJ sets had dropped and main sources included drums, metal plates,” said P Anbalagan, member secretary, MPCB. “We provided technical support to the police by adjudging violations as they are the implementing authority for filing cases. No cases have been filed by the MPCB.”
The Bombay high court, in an order dictated last month, said MPCB is the implementing authority to file criminal cases under the Noise Pollution Rules, a power they hold in addition to policing the powers of the Mumbai Police. “Under the Noise Pollution Rules, the Collector or the Regional Officers of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, as the case may be, shall take immediate steps to set criminal law in motion in accordance with law under clause (a) of Section 19 of the Environment Protection Act,” read the order.