Noise levels in silence zones across the city on the last day of Ganpati immersions exceeded the permissible limit of 40 decibels (dB) during the night, revealed the data collated by Awaaz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation. As per noise pollution rules, the permissible noise level during daytime is 50 dB in silence zones and 55 dB in residential areas. At night, it goes down to 40 dB in silence zones and 45 dB in residential areas.
According to the Awaaz Foundation data, the noise level next to Santacruz police station, a silent zone, was 115 dB at 8.01 pm. Similarly, from 11.05 pm onwards, loudspeakers continuously kept making announcements at Girgaum Chowpatty, also a silent zone, which raised the noise level to 102.9 dB. At Worli Naka and opposite Mahim Church, the noise levels were 86.8 dB and 93 dB respectively.
The noise levels in residential areas also exceeded permissible limits. While at Haji Ali there were between 96-98 dB at 1.01 am, at Dadar they were 98 dB. The only exception, as per the report, was the Juhu Chowpatty to SV Road area, comprising silence and residential zones, which saw processions pass by, but without loudspeakers.
Even the noise levels recorded by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) at 25 locations across the city exceeded the permissible limits — highest being 95 dB at Bhandup, followed by 90 dB at Parel. (See Box). Silence zones in the city comprise areas within 100 metres of courts, educational institutions, hospitals and places of worship.
“The police loudspeakers at Girgaum Chowpatty were misused under the guise of law and order to give continuous commentary at deafening volumes,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation.
Unlike bigger Ganpati idols, which made their final journey accompanied by loud music, smaller processions kept the noise levels down. “There seems to be an increased awareness among ordinary people that they should not use loudspeakers,” added Abdulali.