Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Stop the noise! Bengaluru craves the sounds of silence

Stop the noise! Bengaluru craves the sounds of silence

Article Rank

With the festival season around the corner, the noise levels in Bengaluru are likely to go up several decibels with loudspeakers blaring music and huge processions on the streets. Health experts warn that noise pollution is not a mere nuisance, it can result in serious health disorders, report Sanchita Sen and Madhumitha B.

The city is noisy enough with traffic, but the decibel levels are about to rise with loudspeakers blaring music and processions crowding the streets as the festival season gets underway.
The city gets at least four times noisier this season, says Madhuri Gore of the Institute of Speech and Hearing, warning that while the repercussions are not immediately apparent, they are nonetheless hazardous in the long run.

Bhargavi Rao of the Environment Support Group (ESG) feels the problem is that celebrations have shifted from being simple and austere to being grand and excessively noisy today. "Festivals are not celebrated like they were some years ago. It isn't about the fun of bursting crackers anymore but more about putting up a show. People and political parties are competing with each other to see who can hold a grander celebration.

So there are more firecrackers, bigger loudspeakers and more people, all adding to the noise pollution,” she says, adding that the only way this can be curbed is to have more policemen patrolling the city to ensure that the rules are enforced. However, in her view noise pollution is high in the city all through the year and not just during the festive season. “Vehicles on roads and generators in commercial buildings are contributing hugely to the noise one has to put up with every

day,” she deplores.
Health experts warn it is not enough to see noise pollution as a mere nuisance as it can have serious consequences, sometimes even leading to permanent damage to the ears. “It may be

difficult to quantify the threat from the noise that we are exposed to along with the hazardous fumes of firecrackers this season, but it is time for the health department to step in and make more of an effort to contain it," they say.
Ask secretary for environ ment and ecology Kanwar Pal about what the govern ment is doing about noise pollution and he says restric tions are in place during the festive season to contain the noise levels, but it is hard to see that everyone follows them. "How does one ensure that the rules in place are enforced when the law breake ers outnumber the law e enforcers, he asks, pointing e out that while the regulations say firecrackers must not s make a sound of over 50 decibels, unless their manufacture ers toe the line, the people n cannot be held responsible for the noise they make. "The question here is one of self-regula tion and about indi viduals maintain ing some decorum and dis cipline in pub lic," he says. Anything beyond 60 decibel gets uncomfortable for the ears. As endurance levels are different, we see people come to us with different levels of the problem. Such cases are definitely increasingly during the festival season. We have time and again appealed to people to celebrate but with lesser noise.

DR SUNIL NARAYAN DUTT, senior consultant, ENT, Apollo Hospital We do not realise the effects of noise or the fact that the decibel levels are already high in the city. This leads to different degrees of stress that is vented out in different ways by different people. Studies have revealed that the lack of a goodnight's sleep during festivals can affect memory apart from hearing difficulties. Much of today's young generation suffers from hearing problems due to constant exposure to noise.

MADHURI GORE, Institute of Speech and Hearing Festivals are not celebrated in a proper manner anymore. There is no joy in bursting firecrackers.

It is just an exhibition of wealth.

Each community or political party is competing with one another to for a grand celebration. There are more fire crackers, big crowds and bigger loud speakers, all causing more and more noise pollution.


Post a Comment

<< Home