The Maharashtra Narvirman Sena (MNS) violated noise pollution rules during its Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park on Friday, where the noise levels touched a deafening 119.4 decibels (dB), according to anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali. A rock concert generates noise levels of 120dB, according to the website www.webmd.com.
The highest noise levels were recorded during two processions, involving drums and metal plates, before the speeches began. According to Abdulali’s measurements, the highest noise level during the first procession was 113.5dB. The second was even louder, peaking at 119.4dB.
“There was hardly any attempt to regulate noise during the function. Music from loudspeakers as well as instruments pushed decibel levels way above permissible limits,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener of Awaaz Foundation, an NGO.
Abdulali said that before the function began, the ambient noise in the area was recorded at 62dB. As soon as the background music began, the decibel level rose to 81dB. “The highest noise level during the speeches was 89.5dB, recorded during Avinash Abhiyankar’s speech. This was followed by MLA Sharad Sonawane’s speech, which peaked at 86dB, and Raj Thackeray’s, which touched 80.1dB,” she said.
According to standards laid down under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, residential and silence zones should have a maximum noise level of 55dB and 50dB during the day and 45dB and 40dB during the night, respectively.
On Wednesday, the Bombay high court had directed the state government to take criminal action against MNS if the party flouted its undertaking to maintain ambient sound levels during its Shivaji Park rally.
On May 5, 2010, the high court had declared Shivaji Park as a silence zone while hearing a petition filed by Wecom, a residents’ trust. On Wednesday, after hearing a plea from the same petitioner, a bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Prakash Naik said, “In case of any violation, the state will have to take stringent action as the state has taken liberty to grant permission.”
Ashok Rawat, a resident of Shivaji Park, told HT that while the MNS was asked to use small 3.5-watt speakers, it went ahead and used the traditional 250-watt loudspeakers. “The total wattage of loudspeakers during the function was calculated to be 6,400 watts. Members of the MNS had also put up tin sheets around the premises but this barely had any effect as metal does not absorb sound,” he said.