Gzb’s silent zones noisiest, residential areas fare better in UPPCB survey

Published on Sep 21, 2022 11:37 PM IST

The analysis covered a period of six months, from March to August this year, and the data has revealed that the daytime average for cis-Hindon (old city areas) was 54 decibels (dB) while that in trans-Hindon (newly developed areas like Indirapuram, Vaishli etc.) was 53.3dB

A view of Rajnagar in Ghaziabad. A 100 square metre area around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, and religious places, among others, is considered a silent zone and activities such as honking and use of loudspeakers are not permitted in such spaces. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
A view of Rajnagar in Ghaziabad. A 100 square metre area around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, and religious places, among others, is considered a silent zone and activities such as honking and use of loudspeakers are not permitted in such spaces. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The silent zones of Ghaziabad are among the noisiest, a six-month noise pollution analysis by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has found.

The data showed that the noise levels in the silent zones of cis-Hindon as well as trans-Hindon area were higher than the standard limits, both during the day and night.

The UPPCB said the monitoring was carried out in Model Town, New Bus Stand, MMG hospital and Bulandshahr Road industrial area in cis-Hindon, and near Jaipuria School, Vaishali Metro station, Vasundhara Sector 16 and Sahibabad industrial area in trans-Hindon.

The analysis covered a period of six months, from March to August this year, and the data has revealed that the daytime average for cis-Hindon (old city areas) was 54 decibels (dB) while that in trans-Hindon (newly developed areas like Indirapuram, Vaishli etc.) was 53.3dB. The nighttime average during the six month period was 45.1dB in cis-Hindon and 44dB in trans-Hindon silent zones.

The standard daytime limit in a silent zone is 50dB, and the same is 40dB at night.

A 100 square metre area around hospitals, educational institutions, courts, and religious places, among others, is considered a silent zone and activities such as honking and use of loudspeakers are not permitted in such spaces.

“The noise readings are high but they should not be taken as the norm in these areas. When a noise generating vehicle passes by the area, it would increase the average reading. Increasing number of vehicles on roads, mixed land use activities and the proximity of silent zones to arterial roads and commercial areas could be some of the reasons for the higher noise average,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer, UPPCB.

Sharma said the power to enforce the noise limits and penalise those who break them lies with the executive magistrate or a police officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police (basically a circle officer and above).

When asked about the number of people penalised for violating the decibel levels over the past year, officials of the Ghaziabad traffic police said that data was not readily available with them. They said the fine amounts vary depending upon the nature of offence and the device emitting the sound.

Barring the noise levels in silent zones, the daytime and nighttime averages in residential, commercial and industrial areas have more or less remained below the standard limit.

However, residents said measuring the noise levels in just a few locations across the city may not help draw the correct picture.

VK Mittal, president of Kaushambi Apartments RWA, said, “The monitoring should be carried out at more locations across the city in order to get correct picture and it should cover all four categories of residential, commercial, silent zones and industrial areas. In our petition filed before the National Green Tribunal in 2015 against noise pollution, there were directions issued to Ghaziabad agencies to remove pressure horns from vehicles. In fact, our locality has been the worst affected by noise as it has multiple high decibel sources in the vicinity.”

According to UPPCB, the daytime six monthly average in residential areas of cis-Hindon was 55.1dB, a point higher than the standard limit of 55 dB. The average daytime noise level in trans-Hindon residential areas was 53.9dB.

The nighttime levels in residential areas were slightly better, the data showed. The six-month average in cis-Hindon was 42.9dB and 42.7dB in trans-Hindon. The standard limit at night is 45dB.

“The city has high levels of all sorts of pollution, the worst of it being air pollution. In terms of noise pollution, a daily commuter feels the full impact of the decibel levels when (s)he hits the road. There is hardly any enforcement on constantly honking vehicles or those using pressure horns. One can hardly see any ‘silent zone’ hoardings near hospitals and schools,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist.

Ramanand Kushwaha, superintendent of police (traffic), said, “Regular drives are conducted against the use of pressure horns and those playing loud music. The civic agencies are entrusted to put up signboards near the silent zones.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Peeyush Khandelwal writes on a range of issues in western Uttar Pradesh – from crime, to development authorities and from infrastructure to transport. Based in Ghaziabad, he has been a journalist for almost a decade.

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