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No sound check: Mumbai’s eastern suburbs are the noisiest, finds BMC report

mumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2017 14:39 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,eastern suburbs,BMC

Mumbai’s eastern suburbs have the most number of areas whose noise levels are above 100 decibels (dB), says Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Environment Status Report (ESR) 2016-17.

Of the 4,800 locations where noise levels were recorded, the eastern suburbs had an average of 27 locations that had noise levels above 100 dB.

In the western suburbs, an average of 16 locations recorded the same noise levels while 11 places in the city had noise levels above 100dB which is equivalent to the sound from a helicopter flying at 100 feet.

The study, which was done as part of a noise mapping project in 1,200 areas, looked at working and non-working days and nights. “We found that the ambient noise level of Mumbai is much louder than the prescribed safe standards. We concluded that the eastern part of the city is louder than rest of Mumbai,” said Mahesh Khanolkar, executive engineer, BMC (environment).

As per the report, the main sources of noise are road traffic, industrial and construction activities, railways and aircraft among others. The study also found that the average noise levels in Mumbai are between 70 and 80dB. 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.

The noise mapping exercise that began in early 2016 ended in June this year. Each of the 1,200 areas was divided into four locations (total of 4,800 locations) with four pre-calibrated decibel meters installed. Officials said areas such as colleges, traffic junctions, tourist spots, industrial areas, religious places, markets, railway stations, airports, malls and residential areas were selected for the study.

He added that Chembur, Kurla, Deonar, Govandi, Mankhurd, Trombay, Kalachowkie and parts of Antop Hill were the loudest while Wadala and Mulund were quieter but similar to areas in the central parts of the city. “The readings were taken mostly along main roads,” said Khanolkar.

“Santacruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari and Juhu were the loudest in the western suburbs and Worli, Mohammad Ali Road, JJ Flyover, Dadar and Girgaum were the loudest in city areas,” said a senior official from BMC’s environment department.

Khanolkar added that the detailed noise mapping report will be ready by October.

“We will submit all our findings to the state government, the state pollution control board and the Mumbai police to take steps on reduction in noise,” he said.

BMC data shows noise levels in ‘red’ category in Mumbai: Activists

Anti-noise campaigners said levels as per the Environment Status Report are dangerously high in the city, especially because they are average decibel (dB Leq) levels, which is calculated after recording both the minimum (Lmin) and maximum (Lmax) from 1,200 areas.

Members of Awaaz Foundation said this means maximum levels are much more at each of these 1,200 locations. “The reason that the noise levels are this high is a planning fault from the state’s and civic body’s end. We have not been asking for this kind of a mapping exercise but one where levels that can be integrated with the development plan so that noise across the city can be tackled in a uniform manner,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

She added that the data clearly showed a future health epidemic. “The noise levels are being recorded without festival noise. It just shows how much impact it has on us citizens and we don’t realise it. The BMC needs to flag this off and immediate steps need to be taken to control the nuisance,” said Abdulali.

Locations in Mumbai where noise levels breach 100dB

During working days:

Mumbai: 54 locations

Eastern suburbs: 27 locations

Western suburbs: 16 locations

City areas: 11 locations

During Working nights:

Mumbai: 45 locations

Eastern suburbs: 26 locations

Western suburbs: 13 locations

City areas: 6 locations

During non-working days:

Mumbai: 56 locations

Eastern suburbs: 28 locations

Western suburbs: 16 locations

City areas: 12 locations

During non-working nights:

Mumbai: 48 locations

Eastern suburbs: 28 locations

Western suburbs: 13 locations

City areas: 7 locations

Noisiest locations in eastern suburbs: Chembur, Kurla, Deonar, Govandi, Mankhurd, Trombay, Kalachowkie and parts of Antop Hill

Noisiest locations in western suburbs: Santacruz, Andheri, Jogeshwari and Juhu

Noisiest locations in island city: Worli, Mohammad Ali Road, JJ Flyover, Dadar and Girgaum

(Source: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Environment Status Report 2016-17)

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 14:39 IST