Forest officers have complained to the local police about residential colonies, restaurants and hotels at the periphery of forested areas of Yeoor range in Thane, saying they are responsible for creating noise pollution, especially during the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, which could be harming animals within the Yeoor forest range.
The 60sqkm deciduous forest stretches from Thane on one end to the Nagla block, Vasai on the other, extending up to Dahisar towards Mumbai. Towards the northern end of Yeoor, close to four restaurants, two hotels, six villages and residential areas are located outside the notified forest area.
According to forest officers, since the beginning of the IPL tournament, loudspeakers and television sets installed at these eateries have been creating a nuisance for wild animals that live nearby.
“While there was hardly any noise during festivals such as Ambedkar Jayanti and Ram Navami, noise levels from celebrations, loudspeakers and music from hotels and restaurants during and after IPL matches have forced animals to move away from the protected forest areas around the periphery of Yeoor and move deeper into the forest,” said Sanjay Waghmode, range forest officer, Yeoor forests, adding that noise levels have been well above 85 dB during matches.
According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, all national parks were declared as silence zones and the use of drums, loudspeakers etc is banned as it can harm the wildlife residing within. The rules also add that silence zones should have a maximum noise level of 45dB and 40dB during the day and night, respectively.
Waghmode added that in an attempt to inform the local eateries, the forest department approached the Vartak Nagar police station and filed a complaint. “We visited individual eateries and informed them about noise rules applying to forest areas. We also sent notices to all restaurants to curb noise pollution and if they failed to do so we will have to take necessary action against them,” said KG Gavit, senior police inspector, Vartak Nagar.