More than three years after it first planned on mapping noise levels across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation( BMC) and private consultants have completed recording of noise levels at 48 locations in T-ward (Mulund).
The project, which is part of a survey to identify areas with high noise levels and requiring sound barriers, will eventually collate noise levels and patterns across 1,200 locations. The project is expected to be complete by January 2017.
“We have started work in T-ward, there are a few more locations left. We have checked the sound recording instruments used by the consultants and found that they are perfectly calibrated,” said a senior official from BMC’s environment department.
The official added that each of the 24 wards will be studied for the designated silence and residential zones and readings will be compared to permissible limits as per Noise Pollution Rules, 2000. “After the readings are taken, we will lay out a map to understand various points in the city where sound barriers are required and develop a separate report,” said the official.
The civic body records noise levels in different parts of the city and releases a yearly environment status report (ESR). However, owing to lack of comprehensive data, it has failed to take substantial steps to curtail the increasing noise pollution.
Activists have appreciated this initiative. “It is a very important documentation but the next question is what are they going to do reduce the levels? Only doing mapping is not going to help. It is in public health that the corporators and political parties need to understand this,” said Dr Mahesh Bedekar, activist, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in 2010 at the Bombay high court, complaining about lack of compliance of rules and regulations during festivals such as Ganeshotsav, Navratri and dahi handi and the violation of noise pollution rules.
Bedekar added that the data will definitely lead to proper planning but citizens’ involvement is necessary. “Mumbaiites have to see to it that our city is the quietest one,” he said.