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Noise Merchants Will Have A Miserable Festive Season This Year

This will be a heavenly festival season in Mumbai for those who prefer their festivities below a certain decibel level, and it will be a certifiable nightmare for DJ’s and street disco enthusiasts.

Illegal pandals are on Bombay High Court (BHC) hitlist after it announced on June that it will not tolerate any violations of noise norms during Ganesh Chaturthi, Dahi Handi and Diwali celebrations. The court consequently ordered the state to keep a tab on any such activities.

It’s a well known fact that every year the last day of Ganpati celebration breaks all noise level records in the city. However, this Ganesh visarjan is mercifully going to be a quiet one. The BHC refused to grant interim relief to allow the use of DJ and Dolby sound systems until September 19.

The court said it wouldn’t be a mute spectator to the ground realities and the police are not well-equipped to curb noise pollution. It is monitoring compliance of it’s order passed in 2016, which held that it’s is the fundamental right of citizens to live in a pollution free environment, which includes noise pollution.

Clarifying that it is not against any religious practice, the BHC stated that it just wants to ensure proper implementation of rules. It has also warned the authorities of action under contempt of court if rules are not complied with. The police across the state have been equipped with decibel meters. Citizens can lodge their complaints along with evidence to the police who are supposed to attend them promptly.

It might be tempting to think that noise isn’t a serious health issue, after all, it’s just noise. It won’t kill us … right? Well, maybe.

Exposure to prolonged or excessive noise has been shown to cause a range of health problems ranging from stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep, to more serious issues such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus and hearing loss. Phew.

Fire crackers and sound systems can create 140 decibels of noise (noise at 85 decibels or above can damage hearing).

Noise pollution can cause temporary and permanent damage to your health. Some of the harmful effects of noise include:
• Increased blood pressure
• Increased heart rate
• Changes in respiration
• Vasoconstriction
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• The risk of hearing impairment
• Cochlear damage
• Behavioural changes
• Irritability and uncertainty
• Stress
• Fatigue
• Inability to concentrate
• Decreased working capacity

And of course crackers during Diwali are a nightmare for dogs and other animals who get scared of loud sounds (dogs can hear 4 times more than us, imagine the pain and agony).

These noise levels need to be curtailed to the permissible limit to avoid disturbances to hospitals and to senior citizens. This is a responsibility that rests with each and every one of us.

We owe the BHC a great debt of gratitude for taking this principled stand.

Various activist groups and NGOs are already spreading awareness about this cause. You too can join in by downloading applications like NoiseWatch or Sound Meter on your smartphone, and recording the decibel level in your area. If it is beyond the prescribed limits, you can report it to the cops.

Watch the video by Vox below on how noise pollution can harm your health.

Ketto & the Environment

Since its inception, Ketto has been a strong advocate of environmental consciousness in this country. Click on the links below to view crowdfunding projects it has been involved with for eco-friendly efforts. If you feel inspired, you can perhaps start your own project with Ketto as well.

Ketto Blog remains committed to inspiring and compelling social change to India’s most pressing problems through the power of great stories and engaging our audiences to take meaningful action.

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