Delhi govt readies first action plan to curb noise pollution
The Delhi government has come up with its first action plan to curb noise pollution in the city.
The plan comprises various measures such as identifying noise pollution hotspots in the city, procuring hand-held devices for the police as well as civic agencies to better monitor sound pollution, and installing noise mufflers and noise curtains at various industrial and construction sites, among others.
“This is Delhi’s first noise pollution action plan. The responsibilities of various government agencies, such as the Delhi Police, civic agencies, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.(DSIIDC) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been fixed. The agencies have also been given deadlines by when they would have to accomplish their tasks,” a senior official of the environment department said.
According to the plan, all civic agencies would have to identify ‘noise hotspots’ within their jurisdiction by September 2019. The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 would be strictly implemented in these areas, along with the ‘silence zones’. An area of 100 metres around schools, hospitals, courts and government offices has been designated as ‘silence zone’.
“For this, civic agencies and the police have been asked to procure hand-held devices within the next three months so that noise levels can be better monitored,” a senior official of the environment department said.
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 (CPCB).
Data available with the DPCC shows the noise level in all these stations is above the daily permissible limit. While the daily permissible limit for residential areas is 50 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day, the monthly average of three residential areas RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh and Mandir Marg is 62, 58 and 59 decibels respectively.
According to the plan, by December 2019, the civic bodies and the DPCC would develop a real-time monitoring network in different land-use areas, such as commercial, residential and industrial.
“The civic agencies and the DSIIDC have also been asked to ensure that construction sites and industrial areas have sound barriers, such as noise mufflers and noise curtains. These have to be implemented immediately,” an official of the DPCC said.
The Delhi Traffic Police’s Intelligent Traffic Management Plan (ITMP) also finds a place in the action plan as a solution to bring down vehicular noise. Even though the action plan states that the ITMP has to be implemented immediately, it is yet to be implemented in its entirety. The traffic police have, however, installed speed and violation detection cameras between Sarai Kale Khan and Dhaula Kuan. A control centre has also been set up.
“More cameras will be installed across heavy traffic stretches and eventually integrated with the control centre,” Kannan Jagadeesan, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said.
On March 15 this year, the National Green Tribunal, while hearing a plea, had directed the chief secretary of Delhi to finalise an action plan for noise pollution and submit it to the CPCB.
“A draft plan was prepared by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and comments from other departments and government agencies were invited. The draft plan was finalised in a meeting held by the environment secretary in the last week of June and submitted to the CPCB,” a senior official of the DPCC said.
In April, the Delhi Police had launched a noise pollution helpline, which now receives at least seven to 10 calls every day. Most of the calls relate to music being played at deafening volume and loudspeakers being played well into the night.