Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bangalore's submerged in a big din

Bangalore's submerged in a big din

Pollution control Board has no instrument to measure noise pollution; no study undertaken either

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



The cacophony on Bangalore roads may have reached an unbearable pitch. But pollution controlling authorities in the city are not lifting a finger to rein in the noise pollution. In fact, they don't even have an estimate of the noise pollution plaguing the city, as they don't have the equipment to measure it.
Government agencies do not, in the normal course, conduct studies of the levels of noise pollution in different parts of the city. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the agency meant to keep tabs on pollution levels in the state, has no instruments to measure noise pollution.
The only data available on noise levels in the city is with private companies and non-governmental organisations. Even this, however, is not regularly updated. The most recent study on noise levels in the city was conducted two years ago by the Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing (SISH), an NGO.
Audiologist and director of SISH, Radhika Poovaiah said, "Noise is above acceptable limits by at least 20 decibels in most areas of the city. Besides vehicular noise pollution, industries and construction activities in most neighbourhoods contribute to the noise pollution. It is sad that there is little done to curtail noise levels, and that no studies are undertaken to even monitor the noise in different parts of the city. NGOs and private agencies can only do so much. The Karnataka state pollution control board (KSPCB) and the traffic police should make sustained efforts to both study the levels of noise pollution and prevent its escalation."
SISH's study reveals that two years ago, noise levels in the city had already exceeded acceptable standards laid down by the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The permissible limit for noise pollution in residential areas in the day is 55 decibels and 45 decibels at night. In commercial areas it is 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night. Data collected from ten different spots in the city two years ago showed that Mekhri Circle was most noisy, at 100 decibels; MG Road followed close, at 99 decibels. At Brigade Road, the measure of the noise levels read 98 decibels, at Forum mall it was 78 decibels. "The shrill sounds of horns, screeching vehicles. By the time I get to work, I have a headache," said Suhasini S, an HR professional.

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