The city recorded a noise level of 121.4 decibels (dB), the highest in a decade, on Anant Chaturdashi on Saturday.
Awaaz Foundation, a non-government organisation (NGO), recorded the loudest noise at Girgaum Chowpatty close to midnight, from the traditional instrument tasha, which entails a metal hammer beaten on a metallic plate. The noise was amplified through loudspeakers.
This year, sound levels on the last day exceeded that on the fifth day of visarjan when noise levels had reached 115dB. Last year, the highest noise level recorded was 105dB.
This year, the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti had appealed to all mandals to use traditional instruments such as lezims and dhols instead of opting for disc jockeys during visarjan, claiming they led to lower noise levels.
“The noise reached dangerous levels on Saturday, and what was more astonishing was that people, including children and infants, were standing quite close to loudspeakers,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation.
Noise created by DJs reached 113.6 dB at Dadar and Bandra, while noise from traditional instruments reached 115 dB at Lower Parel.
The lowest noise level recorded was as high as 78dB near Mithibai College, Vile Parle, which is a silence zone.
“Noise levels were extremely high even close to hospitals, and we recorded a level of 102dB outside Jaslok hospital at Peddar Road,” said Abdulali.
Medical experts said that such high noise levels could result in permanent hearing loss. “High noise levels such as those recorded on Saturday can cause permanent hearing damage for which there is no treatment,” said Dr Vikas Agarwal, who runs an ENT clinic in Kandivli.