Though Mumbai hosted fewer dahi handi events this year, areas such as Khar and Worli recorded noise levels beyond permissible limits on Sunday evening.
Loudspeakers and drums contributed to noise levels as high as 105 decibel (dB) at Union Park in Khar, while Worli Naka recorded 100dB, said members of Awaaz Foundation, who have been calculating noise levels during festivals since 2003.
Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, requires residential and silence zones to have noise levels not beyond 50-55dB during the day and 40-45dB at night, respectively.
Sumaira Adbulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation, said, “Though fewer events were organised in Mumbai, rules were violated at some places that blared loudspeakers often in police presence. They were mostly functions organised by politicians.”
Other areas that recorded comparatively high noise were Dadar railway station and Hill Road, Bandra, where noise levels were 95dB and 91dB, respectively. Areas such as Shivaji Park, Rani Baug in Byculla and Marine Drive recorded 88dB, 82dB and 90dB, respectively.
Abdulali added places such as Senapati Bapat Marg, the streets near Dadar railway station and Union Park were blocked. “While the pandals and loudspeakers blocked one side of the roads as the handis were hung across the road, the celebrations hindered traffic. Height restrictions of pyramids had also been violated,” she said.
Residents informed the NGO about noise violations from their locality by using mobile applications - 76dB and 71dB were recorded between 7pm and 11pm on Saturday from two silence zones, next to Wockhardt Hospital near Agripada police station and St John Baptist Road, Bandra (West).
“Complaints from residents indicated that the police were unresponsive and no numbers were communicated by authorities for receiving complaints in accordance with court orders. However, this was not the case at Navi Mumbai, where police had given specific details of officials in case of complaints,” said Abdulali.
The Bombay high court (HC) had passed a verdict in August that complaints against noise pollution would be acted upon by the local police. Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police and spokesperson, Mumbai police, said, “It becomes difficult for us to manage multiple helplines. But all emergency calls on 100 were answered.” He added that the police are speaking to mandals ahead of the Ganeshotsav to educate them about noise rules.
* Navi Mumbai, Thane record low noise levels
Dahi handi events were fewer in other areas of the metropolitan region and noise levels were lower than Mumbai’s. Patil Garden at Koperkhairane and CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai, recorded 70dB and Jambhali Naka and Tembhi Naka in Thane recorded 90dB and 85 dB on Sunday evening
Ajay Marathe, member, Awaaz Foundation said, “There was heavy police deployment at locations that were previously known for being noisy. There was not much noise pollution recorded from Navi Mumbai this year.”
Marathe visited Koperkhairane, Airoli, Nerul, CBD Belapur and Vashi in Navi Mumbai, while Dr Mahesh Bedekar visited various parts of Thane.
“There were no handis at Gokhale Road in Thane this year, an area that has been seeing as many as five major ones. The area has around 10 hospitals,” said Dr Bedekar.