Activists raise concern over increasing noise pollution

  • | Sunday | 3rd December, 2023

Thane: At a time when polluted air quality levels and its impact on human health has attracted attention, city-based activists have now appealed to the administration to tackle the growing menace of noise pollution which, experts say, plays an equally crucial role in overall well-being of citizens.A noise level test of prominent city junctions of Thane by anti-noise activist Dr Mahesh Bedekar revealed increased and unregulated traffic, pedestrian movement and excessive honkingresponsible for contributing majorly to the noise levels in the city which touched an average of 80-85dB during morning and evening peak hours.Incidentally, the World Health Organisation says any sound above 65 db is noise pollution and anything beyond 75dB is harmful for human ears, said Dr Bedekar.As per the readings, the Thane railway station and Teen Haath naka on the Eastern express highway remained the noisiest stretches recording 85-95 decibels during morning peak hours. Motorists who are in a hurry to move tend to start honking as soon as the light turns green, unknowingly adding to the noise levels. The continuous movement of slow moving autos through the narrow lanes was also adding to the din at the station area, said Dr Bedekar.Meanwhile, Majiwada and Nitin Company junction - barely 500m from the municipal headquarters- recorded anywhere between 85 and 92 dB, revealed the evening peak hour readings. Even the Court naka premises that is incidentally a silent zone saw higher noise levels, which Dr Bedekar said was due to haphazard traffic movement leading to jams and subsequent honking.Experts said prolonged exposure to high noise levels could adversely impact the well-being of residents especially the elderly and children. After 70 dB, every small decibel rise is potentially dangerous for the ear and the body. If there is prolonged exposure, it is like slow poison where the inner ears start dying which is irreversible. Many people also complain of tinnitus – a continuous ringing sound in the ear. It can also trigger hypertension and cardiac problems, diabetes, and increase in stress levels. A common example can be seen in the behavioural patterns of drivers or police staff that are exposed to loud noise for a major part of the day, cautioned ENT surgeon Dr Pradeep Uppal suggesting that residents should use cotton plugs while passing such noisy areas.Activists and residents said it was high time the administration took corrective action and either install regulations like signals or deploy CCTV that can deter motorists. Horn is an emergency that ideally is used rampant in our cities. Unnecessary honking could make the city deaf and a strict no honking drive should be undertaken, Dr Bedekar suggested.

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