So were Ganpati celebrations less noisy this year? If you go by what the state says, decibel levels in most places were more than last year. Non-governmental organisation Awaaz Foundation, however, said celebrations were quieter this year.
Why the difference in numbers? “The difference in sound levels between that recorded by MPCB and Awaaz is that the former takes average reading over a long duration, while ours is peak noise levels at one time. As a result, the overall noise levels seem higher than last year as compared to peak noise levels, which have come down,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) collected data from 23 locations across the city between 6pm and midnight.
The highest average noise level was 90 decibels (dB) at LT Road, Borivli, as compared to 68dB last year. At Chinchpokli, noise levels reached 85dB as opposed to 74dB in 2013.
According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the permissible level in residential areas at night is 45dB, while it is 40dB in silence zones.
“We still have to analyse the data. An analysis will help us know what changes have taken place in these locations since last year that have led to an increase in noise levels this year,” said SC Kollur, scientific officer, MPCB.
The Awaaz Foundation, on the other hand, monitored noise levels across 19 locations between 8.22pm and 10.55pm. It found the levels had reduced by 10dB this year when compared with last year. According to the NGO’s data, the maximum level recorded was 114 dB at Juhu and Dadar. Last year, the maximum level recorded was 123dB at Worli Naka.
“A difference of 10dB from last year is significant. The deadline of 12am was implemented more effectively than last year, with processions switching off loudspeakers by about 12.15am,” said Abdulali.
The NGO’s data showed that in silence zones on Linking Road in Khar (next to Arya Vidya Mandir) and SV Road near Mithibai College, noise levels rose to 104.3dB and 100dB respectively.