Citizens will soon have access to real-time noise readings, recorded by the state pollution control board, from 10 locations in Mumbai and five other cities across Maharashtra.
Stations installed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2015 between Churchgate and Mulund will provide hourly and weekly decibel (dB) data to citizens, made available on the pollution watchdog’s website.
Additionally, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) commissioned setting up of 10 real-time noise monitoring stations across the state with two stations across five cities – Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Kohlapur.
“Similar to the air quality monitoring network, which was developed across the state, we have now replicated the same network for noise,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB. “The board gave its approval for the noise monitoring stations for the state last month. Real-time noise data for Mumbai is currently live. However, owing to server issues it will take some time to be reflected on our website.”
The 10 locations across Mumbai have been divided into – commercial, industrial, residential and silence zones – depending on developmental activities, type of buildings and busy traffic junctions. “The idea is to identify the noisiest parts of the city through citizens’ complaints and develop an action plan to tackle the menace,” said Motghare.
The move comes months after a CPCB analysis found Mumbai to be the noisiest city in India after a series of regular ambient noise monitoring from 2011 to 2014. Noise monitored at five stations at Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane saw four out five stations exceeding decibel levels as per noise standards laid down in Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
“Our main aim is to create mass awareness to incite public pressure on the implementing authority by giving citizens the access to noise levels around them. Once there is force from citizens, it will automatically lead to a policy through complaints or public-interest-litigations,” said Sanjay Bhuskute, public relations officer, MPCB.
HT had reported on September 25 that an on-going study by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has so far measured noise levels at 740 out of 1,200 locations across the city and found noise levels at most lcoations above permissible limits for residential and silence zones.
Anti-noise activists said that the noise monitoring network will help but needs to be used for noise mitigation measures. “There will be constant dissemination of information to citizens not in only in Mumbai but across the state regarding any noise violations from now on. Moreover, this is the first time there is an expansion of the seven city noise network proposed by the centre in 2010,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
Map that noise: HC
A Bombay high court order from August makes it mandatory for all authorities to carry out noise mapping and take into account all aspects of noise pollution as a parameter of quality of life. The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed said noise mapping should be carried out in all major cities of Maharashtra and integrated into the Development Plan.