Authorities failing to curb noise pollution, public apathy also a hurdle
Despite existing laws and orders of the Uttarakhand high court for curbing noise pollution emitted by loudspeakers the district authorities in Dehradun have failed in controlling it. Environmentalists and activists state that authorities alone are not responsible, as the public at large is also insensitive and ignorant about it. It is also important to mention here that Dehradun police department presently does not have any monitoring equipment to measure the noise level.
The secretary, Society for Pollution and Environment Conservation Scientists (SPECS), Brij Mohan Sharma said, “It is important for citizens to understand that noise pollution is much more dangerous than air pollution. The air pollution only affects one physically while noise affects a person mentally. Just because the effect of noise pollution is not apparent does not mean that it should not be on our priority list.”
Senior faculty member of environment at Doon University, Suneet Naithani said, “It is actually a matter of public apathy and ignorance. Also, there is difference between raising awareness among public and actually adopting it in our day to day practice. The actions of authorities concerned and the response of public should have balance. If the awareness campaigns conducted by the authorities are failing to reach the public at large, then there is no point in it.”
Dehradun district magistrate C Ravishankar said that on the complaints they receive they take actions. If there are repeat offenders strict actions will be taken against them as per the existing law.
Dehradun Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arun Mohan Joshi said that the police take immediate action on the complaints that come through dial 112. He also appealed to the citizens to call the emergency number if somewhere the loudspeakers are blaring even after the designated time limit.
According to the Supreme Court’s directions which were also stated by Uttarakhand high court in its decision in June 2018, the noise level at the boundary of the public place where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 decibles (dBA) above the ambient noise standards for the area of 75 decibles (dBA) – whichever is lower. No person is permitted to beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or beat or sound any instruments or use any sound amplifier at night- that is between 10 PM and 6 AM except in public emergencies. The peripheral noise level of privately owned sound system shall not exceed by more than five decibles (dBA) than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it is used, at the boundary of the private place. The horn cannot be blown at night between 10 PM and 6 AM in residential area except in exceptional circumstances. The high court had also stated that loudspeakers disturb the sleeping pattern of the patients and study of the students is also adversely affected.
It is pertinent to mention here that commercial party venues located across the city, especially in the suburbs are a source of considerable noise pollution well past the permitted time during the nights. Apart from such functions, noise far above permissible levels is also generated by activities held for religious and other purposes.
Thursday, 10 October 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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