The fifth day of the Ganeshostav festival was a noisy affair with residential areas near Dadar being the noisiest at 112.7 decibel (dB).
Anti-noise activists from Awaaz Foundation and Shivaji Park based Wecom trust recorded noise levels from immersion processions between 8pm till 11.15pm from various parts of the city on Friday and found noise levels at all silence zones to be much above permissible limits.
Locations such as a silence zone at Juhu Tara Road recorded 109.6 dB, Bandra Talao at 104.9dB, near SNDT college Matunga at 101.5dB and areas such as Grant Road, Lamington Road and Lalbaug, all above 100 dB.
According to the 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.
Last year, noise levels were recorded after one-and-a-half day and seventh day of the festival by the NGO but not on the fifth day. On the other hand, Mahim was the quietest area on Friday with noise levels at 80 dB.
“Noise levels were high this year owing to the use of drums, metal plates and loudspeakers coming from immersion processions,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundaton. “However, disc jockeys (DJs) had toned down the use of their loudspeakers as compared to previous years. There has been a certain amount of awareness at immersion sites such as Girgaum chowpatty that only had public address systems to help devotees immerse their idols this year.”
Abdulali added that while noise levels were high in certain parts of the city, a procession near Lamington road was led by a horse. “This was a clear violation of laws against animal cruelty as an animal was being subjected to high noise levels during the fifth day. Unfortunately there was no police presence in the area at the time,” she said.
Members of Wecom Trust and residents of Shivaji Park, a silence zone, recorded maximum noise levels at 100.2 dB on Friday as compared 100.1 on the one-and-a-half day immersions on Tuesday. “With adequate police presence in the vicinity, noise levels remained high and the source was stationary procession drums,” said Ashok Rawat, resident and member of Wecom Trust.
Meanwhile, anti-noise activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar recorded noise levels across Thane and found Ram Murti Road, Thane (West) to be the noisiest at 108 dB. While the lowest readings were 65dB at Gokhale Road, a Silence Zone, the average readings from various processions was between 80-90 dB on Friday.
“The use of drums, banjos and loudspeakers amplified noise levels at some areas in Thane (West). There was heavy police presence this year. However, noise from busy traffic junctions with obstructions from processions added to ambient noise levels,” said Dr Bedekar.
“We had asked various mandals to ban the use of loudspeakers this year, which is why they are not a main source of high noise levels,” said Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of the umbrella body of Ganesh mandals, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS). “We will be making an appeal to mandals again on Saturday to restrict the use of drums, dhols and metal plates outside Silence Zones.”
What the law says?
A recent comprehensive Bombay high court order from last month not only bans the use of loudspeakers at silence zones but even the use of drums, blowing horns, trumpets and playing of any music using sound amplifiers. “Apart from prohibition on grant of license to use loudspeakers or public address systems in silence zones, there is a complete ban on beating a drum or tom tom or on blowing a horn, either musical or pressure, or trumpet or beats or sounds, using any sound amplifiers,” read the order passed by division bench of Justice bhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed.
Noise standards as laid down in the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
Category of area Day time limit (in dB) (6.30am to 8.30pm) Night time limit (in dB) (8.30pm – 6.30am)
Residential area 55 45
Silence zones 50 40
HOW MUCH NOISE IS TOO MUCH?
· Healthy hearing threshold - 0dB
· Pin dropping - 10dB
· Rustling leaves - 20dB
· Sound of river water - 40dB
· Light traffic, refrigerator - 50dB
· Conversational speech, air conditioner - 60dB
· Vacuum cleaner - 75dB
· Alarm clock - 80dB
· Discotheque/pneumatic hammer - 100dB
· Live Rock Band - 115dB
· Steel mill - 120dB
· Thunderclap, chain saw - 130dB
· Jet take-off (at 25 metres) - 150dB