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Do you live in a highly noise-polluted area? Beware, it could negatively affect your unborn child. Yeshwant Oke explains

Noise pollution has an impact on the foetal life giving rise to premature deliveries and increasing congenital birth defects, said Oke.

pune Updated: Apr 18, 2018 16:27 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Yeshwant Oke during his lecture on Tuesday.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

Marathi Vidnyan Parishad had organised a public lecture on noise pollution in the city by Yeshwant Oke, a pioneer in anti-noise pollution campaign in India since 1984.

He is the founder secretary of anti-noise pollution committee formed in Mumbai in 1984. This is part of the monthly lecture series held every third Tuesday at the Institution of Engineers. ‘The idea to hold this lecture on Tuesday was that the fourth Wednesday of April is considered as world noise pollution awareness day. Hence, the lecture was held on April 17. The lecture was meant to appeal to residents to find out the most silent place as well as the most noisiest place in Pune,” said retired professor Vinay RR, chairman of Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Pune.

“Legislators, on winning their elections, burst fire crackers and violate rules. He starts his career as a legislator on the wrong foot,” said Oke as he explained the ill effects of noise pollution such as high blood pressure, sleeplessness, mental agitation and irritation, deafness.

Noise pollution has impact on foetal life giving rise to premature deliveries and increasing congenital birth defects. It also causes disturbances in children’s studies. He also explained the formulation of elaborate rules known as noise rules 2000.

“In Bombay police act of 1951, noise was considered only as a nuisance, punishable by fine of Rs 500. We filed three public interest litigations (PILs) in Bombay High court in 1985, 1995, and 2003. My 1985 petition was based on WHO decibel table of 1980, so noise was included as pollutant in environment protection act in 1986. This changed the whole scenario for polluting penalty was fine up to Rs 1 lakh or five years imprisonment or both. Though the act included noise as a pollutant, no rules were framed, I followed up the matter with the environment ministry through then sitting member of the Parliament Madhu Dandavate,” said Oke.

According to Oke, they had no clue about noise pollution so in 1989 they brought in WHO 1980 decibel table as rules. His writ petition was disposed off in 1994 directing government to form rules on loudspeakers. Government allow loud speakers upto 11.30 pm and police commissioner had discretionary power to extend it up to 1 am. This was in direct contrast with 1989 noise decibel rules. Oke filed second writ petition in 1995 challenging the police commissioner’s powers. Divison bench of high court directed to amend the noise rules and bring them in conformity with Environment Protection Act 1986. This ultimately led to formulation of elaborate rules on 24 February 2000 known as noise rules 2000.

“In Chennai, matter came before high court between church of god and majestic colony as the church started using band and loudspeakers during their prayers. High court ruled in favour of Majestic colony residents. Church of God moved the supreme court and matter was heard by justice MB Shah and RS Phukan. On 30 August 2000 Supreme court ruled that noise rules 2000 be followed which are presently followed all over India. No loud speaker is allowed between 10 pm and 6 am. And silence zone is to be maintained within 100 metres around courts, hospitals, education institutes and religious places. Decibel levels are 50 during the day and 40 during the night,” explained Oke.

No loudspeakers, fire crackers or horns are permitted in silence zones. EP Act 1986, noise rules 2000 are to be implemented all over India by central and various state governments.

The question is whether these rules which are to be followed by common man, do the legistlators follow them in various houses, though they have certain immunity, in short noise pollution reduces the efficiency and productivity which is well depicted by behaviour of legislators of various houses.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 15:05 IST