‘Make limiters mandatory in sound systems to cut noise pollution’: NGT
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to make the use of sound limiters mandatory in all sound systems, to reduce noise pollution in the national capital.
The green court cited the examples of Tripura and West Bengal, which have drafted policies to make the use of sound limiters mandatory.
Sound limiters are devices that monitor the sound and limit the maximum sound level that can be generated by sound equipment. The device is installed into the signal path or the electrical supply to the equipment and control the sound from exceeding the prescribed level. Some devices simply cut the power when the sound exceeds the prescribed level.
The tribunal also suggested that decibel levels be displayed at functions where high sound generating equipment are used.
“The Delhi government may issue appropriate notification, on the patterns of the notification issue by the Tripura government, for mandatory use of sound limiters in all sound systems,” a bench headed by justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, NGT chairperson, said.
The green court was hearing a plea in which the applicants had cited that despite earlier orders by the NGT, use of DJs, music systems and public address systems during weddings and other functions was rampant and the noise at odd hours adversely affected the health of citizens.
The DPCC has installed five real-time automatic noise monitoring systems at RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg, Civil Lines and Anand Vihar in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board.
Data available with the DPCC says the sound level at all these stations is above the daily permissible limits. While the daily limit for residential areas is 50 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day, the monthly average for the three residential areas of RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh and Mandir Marg were 62, 58 and 59 decibels, respectively.
“The DPCC must undertake gap analysis and set up sufficient number of monitoring stations and acquire such number of equipment as may be necessary,” the bench said, after observing that the number of stations in Delhi to measure noise pollution is not enough.
The Delhi government has come up with the first noise pollution action plan in which it has proposed to develop a real-time monitoring network in different land use areas such as commercial, residential and industrial by December 2019.
The bench also directed that the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, be implemented and ‘polluter pays principle’ be allowed.
“Though violation of Noise Rules is a criminal offence punishable under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 with imprisonment up to five years and fine up to R 1 lakh, since prosecution of a non-cognizable offence may have its own limitations, civil liability on ‘Polluter Pays’ principle can be invoked by the enforcement regulatory authority,” the bench said.