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Mumbai saw quietest Eid-e-Milad festivities since 2013, says NGO

UPDATED ON NOV 01, 2020 12:19 AM IST

This year, Eid-e-Milad celebrations in the city were the quietest since 2013, according to non-government organisation (NGO) Awaaz Foundation.

On Saturday, Awaaz Foundation submitted its report to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray. Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi celebrates the birth of Prophet Mohammed and was observed on Friday.

On the day between 4.15pm and 5.30pm, Awaaz Foundation recorded noise levels at four locations and found celebrations to be loudest at 66.1 decibel (db), between Byculla bridge junction and Nagapada Circle in south Mumbai.

The readings at the other three locations were between 52dB to 66.1dB, which is significantly lower than previous years.

For example, the stretch between Sir JJ Hospital and Crawford Market recorded 52-55db noise. Due to the use of loudspeakers, readings in this region in 2018 was 105.3 dB in 2018; 105.2 dB in 2017; 111.5dB in 2016; 103.5 dB in 2015; 108.3 dB in 2014; and 104.5 dB in 2013. Awaaz Foundation did not record noise levels during Eid-e-Milad in 2019.

Noise can affect the health and well-being of citizens and continuous exposure to levels above 80dB can lead to partial hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, residential areas should have a maximum noise level of 55dB in the day and 45dB at night. Continuous exposure to levels higher than 70dB can lead to hearing loss, and exposure to levels above that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, which usually occurs suddenly

During previous years, noise from pedestrian traffic and motorcycles was high with people driving recklessly and blocking major roads, especially at Mohammed Ali Road.

Activists said noise was much lower this year owing to only a single procession permitted in Byculla, which did not carry loudspeakers. “I followed it on foot as it passed through various areas between Byculla and Nagpada. Since vehicular traffic was blocked along the route (except for police vehicles) there was no traffic noise. Although there were crowds in some areas but there was no shouting,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation who submitted the noise report to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray.

Abdulali added that the drop in noise was not just during Eid e Milad this year but followed a trend observed in other festivals including the Ganeshotsav and other celebrations as a silver lining of the pandemic. “The city demonstrated new ways to celebrate responsibly without loudspeakers across all religious and cultural celebrations this year. In the interest of controlling noise pollution and eliminating its consequent health hazards, I hope this trend continues for the years to come,” she said.

The Mumbai police spokesperson deputy commissioner of police N Ambika said, “Noise abatement measures have been strictly implemented this year. The use of loudspeakers has been prohibited. Large crowds have been avoided during every festival in Mumbai this year and appropriate deployment of police personnel has been done to ensure physical distancing is maintained.”

Members of the Haji Ali trust said circulars had been issued to groups carrying out processions to maintain decorum during the festival requesting sammelan - to celebrate peacefully and to not create noise.

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