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Checking noise pollution: UPPCB struggling with staff and equipment crunch

Staff and equipment shortage at the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board is acting as a hurdle in the implementation of the government order to check noise pollution, especially the illegal use of loudspeakers. 

lucknow Updated: May 19, 2018 15:02 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Noise pollution,UPPCB,Loudspeakers
UPPCB officials said keeping a track of loudspeakers that were violating norms was becoming a mammoth challenge owing to scarcity of staff and sound monitoring systems.

Staff and equipment shortage at the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) is acting as a hurdle in the implementation of the government order to check noise pollution, especially the illegal use of loudspeakers.

UPPCB officials said keeping a track of loudspeakers that were violating norms was becoming a mammoth challenge owing to scarcity of staff and sound monitoring systems.

“Our department covers Sitapur, Barabanki and Kheri districts. But we have just one portable sound monitoring device and two designated staffers to respond to noise pollution complaints and ensure on-the-spot decibel checking,” said Dr Ram Karan, regional officer UPPCB.

To recall, after a government order was issued on January 7, several drives were carried out to check illegal use of loudspeakers -- such as installing the device without necessary permission or flouting the permissible decibel level. In its order, the government had directed district magistrates and superintendents of police to ensure removal of unauthorised loudspeakers and public address systems installed at religious places across the state.

The order also said that the sound emanating from loudspeakers should not exceed 70 decibel for commercial areas and 65 decibel for residential areas. It also directed officials to carry out a brief survey in this regard in their respective districts and submit a report by January 10. They were also asked to take remedial action by January 15.

However, due to staff and equipment limitation, UPPCB — the department responsible for providing technical assistance to the district administration — is struggling to keep up with the ever increasing load of complaints regarding noise pollution.

Officials said that on-the-spot checking of decibel levels wasn’t feasible with just one device and inadequate staff.

They said that initially many illegal loudspeakers were removed from various religious establishments, however, with the devices playing at every nook and cranny, the challenge seemed insurmountable.

“Although religious establishments have obtained permissions to install loudspeakers, many individuals still haven’t,” said Karan.

First Published: May 19, 2018 15:02 IST