While the poor air quality in Delhi has pushed authorities to at least announce some action plans, the government seems least concerned about noise pollution, which has severe physiological and psychological impacts. Of late, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has started displaying decibel levels in real time and most stations in the city are far from meeting standards.
TOI looked at 24-hour average noise levels (LAE) or sound exposure levels between June 1 and June 7 at Anand Vihar, East Arjun Nagar, Civil Lines, ITO, RK Puram and Punjabi Bagh. RK Puram and Punjabi Bagh–categorised as “quiet area” and “residential area”, respectively–recorded more than 65 dBa on most days.
Noise Pollution Rules 2010 recommend a standard of 65 dBa for day and 55 dBa for night in commercial areas. In residential colonies, the levels should be 55 dBa for day and 45 dba for night. If the noise level exceeds the standards by 10 dBA at any location, it can be recorded as a “violation” and penalised by the authority concerned.
For example, if there is excessive honking, traffic cops can impose a fine of Rs 100. Ironically, Delhi traffic police don’t have the equipment to monitor noise at intersections.But the noise pollution problem in the capital is far larger than just some random honking cases. CPCB’s ‘Status of Ambient Noise Levels in India’ for 2015-16 had highlighted that locations like ITO, Delhi Technological University (DTU) on Bawana Road and NSIT, Dwarka didn’t meet noise standards all year round.Former environment minister Anil Madhav Dave had informed the Rajya Sabha recently that 70 monitoring stations in Mumbai, Lucknow, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru were monitoring noise levels and “the data from these monitoring stations indicate that average noise pollution levels generally exceed the permissible limits”.