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Newsletter Issue 29 : May 1, 2010 - May 31, 2010

newsletter Gandhian approach environment story noise pollution lean is green

 

City turns deaf to noise pollution

by: Chetan Mallik, TNN

Chirping cell phones, screaming traffic, roaring factories and deafening airplanes — life for a Hyderabadi is nothing short of a pain in the ear! A daily noise pollution study undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) shows that in all major areas of the twin cities, the decibel level is almost 30 per cent higher than normal.

The sad part of the story is that chances of the situation improving are also very less. Due to both lack of awareness and government apathy, noise pollution is yet to get the concern it rightfully deserves. Even the Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules, 2000 is a forgotten chapter now.

“We have the regulations but they are not being followed. The Central Government had issued a GO few years ago, stating that Hyderabad should be divided into various zones. But the zoning has still not been done. The cops are supposed to catch people who flout regulations, but they say that because of lack of demarcation they cannot take action. The problem can be solved with proper implementation of regulations,” says K V Ramani, joint chief environmental scientist at the APPCB.

According to APPCB officials, lack of information on people who suffer from health hazards due to noise pollution, also plays a role in the absence of awareness. “There is no health data to prove the enormity of the situation. We don’t how many people have become deaf due to noise pollution,” says an APPCB official.

Dr V S Chowdary, consultant ENT surgeon at the Apollo Hospitals, when asked about the effects of noise pollution, says, “Being exposed to a sound level of 80 decibels for a period of one year can lead to sensory neural hearing loss, which can never be restored. Noise pollution also in some cases leads to psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression.”

It may be mentioned here that at places such as Abids, Panjagutta, Paradise and Charminar, the noise level crosses 90db mark almost daily. And in city theatres, the decibel level sometimes touches a whopping 120 db.

“Pressure horns, generators and loud speakers are mainly responsible for soaring noise levels in the city. The authorities should strictly impose traffic rules. At least near hospitals they should be careful,” adds the APPCB official.

So for now, the jarring noises are here to stay in Hyderabad. And if you still hear the twittering of birds at dawn, the rustle of leaves in the wind, a string quartet or a cat’s purr, then consider yourself lucky.

 

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