Imagine a constant drilling noise resonating within your house for 12 hours every day for months on end while children try to study and you to have a conversation with a guest. Fed up with one such situation, residents of a 23-storey-building at Jogeshwari decided to take matters in their own hands to rid themselves of the loud decibel levels.
For the past five months, residents of Maple Tower in the suburb’s Hill Park complex have been battling noise pollution arising from rock-drilling from a construction site adjacent to their building.
With their initiative, not only did they manage to get one of the excavators used for drilling removed, but also stipulated timeframes for the drilling process with the help of local police. Next month, residents will file a petition at the western bench of the National Green Tribunal.
According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the permissible level in residential areas during the day is 55 decibel (dB) and 45dB at night.
Members of the residents’ welfare association said that noise levels were above permissible limits when work began in January. “The sound was unbearable and a discomfort to senior citizens, children and the terminally ill. Some residents have even temporarily moved house to avoid the nuisance,” said Javed Khan, secretary of the association.
Residents also said a large amount of dust was being generated by the drilling process. “We need to keep our doors and windows shut as the wind pushes construction dust into our houses,” said Gulzar Merchant, 70, a resident.
In March, Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation, recorded the readings at 85.1dB. “The health of residents across Mumbai suffers due to blasting, drilling and other noisy activities. The noise is particularly acute as activities such as stone cutting and unloading are carried out in close proximity to existing buildings, without silencers or noise barriers,” said Abdulali.
Khan alleged that local police had been turning a deaf ear to their complaints for nearly three months. “The local police sprang into action only after we approached officials from the state pollution control board and deputy commissioner of police, zone 9,” said Khan.
Officials from the Oshiwara police station, however, refuted the allegation.
“We took down necessary noise levels at the site and drafted a panchnama,” said Subhash Vele, senior police inspector, Oshiwara police station. “We also wrote to the builder to stay within permissible decibel limits,” he said.