A week after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) revised the hours for construction activities in the city, anti-noise crusader Awaaz Foundation has written to the municipal commissioner demanding that the notification be withdrawn.
Citing ‘ease of doing business’, the BMC had issued a circular allowing construction work between 6am and 10pm — a marked departure from its previous timings of 7am to 7pm.
“I would like to know if the BMC has carried out any background work on the type of equipment with measured decibel levels,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation.
Findings on noise levels from construction equipment recorded by the non-government organisation from 2012 show decibel (dB) levels breached permissible limits. While noise levels from pneumatic drills, including foundation excavation, touched 100dB, that from cement mixers touched 85dB. High frequency marble/stone cutting emitted noise levels of 85dB and general construction, which includes loading and unloading, emitted 80-90dB. Doctors said anything that emits sound beyond 50 decibels can be damaging to a person’s overall wellbeing.
“It is apparent from our findings that noise level of every commonly used construction machine in Mumbai exceeds the levels specified under the Noise Pollution Rules of the MoEFCC (Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change) in all zones, including silence, residential, commercial and even industrial,” stated the letter.
Earlier this year, the Central Pollution Control Board ranked Mumbai as the noisiest city in India after four out of five stations were found to exceed decibel levels permitted by the law.
“While noise pollution is an acknowledged hazard to citizens’ health and while Mumbai has been declared the noisiest city in India, it would be appropriate for the MCGM [who, in addition to comprehensive noise mapping study (which has never been conducted) to establish whether noise levels are within safe limits],” read the letter.