Mumbai’s residential areas are 64 times noisier than London’s
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Mumbai’s residential areas are 64 times noisier than London’s

MUMBAI CITY NEWS: Trains in the British capital too make 32 times less noise than those in city

mumbai Updated: May 24, 2017 09:50 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Awaaz Foundation,LONDON vs MUMBAI
Noise level at the suburban trains in London, measured at both underground and overground ones, was at a maximum of 74.1 dB (sound of a toilet flushing).(HT)

Mumbai has left London far behind on noise levels as the city’s residential areas are 64 times louder than London’s and suburban trains in the city are 32 times noisier than those in England’s capital, says a study by anti-noise campaigner Awaaz Foundation.

The maximum noise level at residential areas in London was 30 dB (as loud as whispering) compared to a minimum of 51 dB (sound of refrigerator) and a maximum of 90 dB (sound of a lawnmower) in Mumbai. The source of noise in London was traffic without much honking but in Mumbai reckless honking adds to the traffic noise.

Similarly, noise from the suburban trains in London, measured at both underground and overground stations was at a maximum of 74.1 dB (sound of a toilet flushing). But decibel level of announcements made was 88dB (as loud as a diesel truck), of ill-maintained brakes 94dB (food processor) and train horn 120dB (thunderclap).

According to professors from the physics department of the University of Mumbai, a 10 dB increase in noise levels doubles the impact on hearing. “This means that if the sound levels increase from 10 to 20dB, the impact on human hearing will increase from two to four times. In this case, if it is an increase of 60 dB, it will be 64 times,” said Pratap Patil, associate professor, department of physics, University of Mumbai.

Construction noise, however, was similar at both Mumbai and London but the British capital had more noise abatement measures. The study, however, identified the use of noise barriers at every construction site in London, which were absent in Mumbai.

On Tuesday, Awaaz Foundation wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with the readings asking him to take active steps to control noise levels. “Noise levels in Mumbai exceed those in London due to lack of law enforcement and planning to control noise pollution,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

She added that noise levels are controlled at London by regulating timings of noisy work. “There are also strict laws governing timing and location of recreational events which do not permit many types of activities including loudspeaker use except in designated areas but this is not the case in Mumbai,” said Abdulali.

“Noise is a direct result of the increasing population. The laws in India for noise rules were made based on international laws. However, there is need to levy stringent fines for honking and construction activity violations,” said D Saha, additional director, CPCB.


The decibel level of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94.4dB in London. (HT)


The decibel (dB) levels recorded around six hospitals in central London saw a maximum of 88dB (as loud as constant ringing noise of a food blender) with traffic as the main source.

Results of a similar study around six Mumbai hospitals: lowest reading was 95.1 dB and highest noise levels were 100.5 dB (as loud as a packed football stadium).

The decibel level of the ambulance was also higher in Mumbai at 100dB compared to 94.4dB in London.

Recommendations: It can be solved by insulating some of the hospital buildings located at busy traffic junctions, apart from keeping noise levels down at main roads by not honking

Residential areas

Even when situated on main roads, London residences recorded noise levels under 30 dB.

Mumbai residences measured a minimum of 51dB and maximum of 90dB in various seasons depending on the sources of the noise, including honking, loudspeakers in their vicinity.

Recommendations: Honking in Mumbai along with all types of noise including loudspeakers, firecrackers and other noise sources that need to be restricted in residential areas at all times.

Local trains

The decibel level of trains in London at an underground station was 74.1dB and overground trains too recorded similar decibel levels.

The trains in Mumbai exceeded decibel levels during announcements that went up to 88dB, dysfucntional brakes that were not maintained and made a screeching sound up to 94dB and the sound of train horns were at 120dB.

Recommendations: Maintenance of trains to restrict noise levels from faulty equipment needs priority. Additional noise sources such as loudspeakers within trains and bhajan mandals need to be strictly regulated.

Construction sites

Construction noise was similar in London and Mumbai.

In London, maximum decibel level of 101.4dB while cutting stone was the highest decibel reading while 89.7dB at a major construction site, which had noise barriers installed around it.

There are strict time limits for construction work in London. In Mumbai the average noise for construction activities is 107dB and it is permitted for much longer hours than in London.

Recommendations: Timings for construction need to be restricted and an action plan to mandate noise barriers and restriction on types of construction activity needs to be formulated and notified.

(Source: Two-megacity studies on noise levels by Awaaz Foundation, recommendations by Sumaira Abdulali)

First Published: May 24, 2017 09:45 IST