TODAY -

Loudness not ok please

Kamal Baruah *

  Loudness not ok please



I was performing bolt-action-fired at the mad minute firing of 30 rounds in 60 seconds at 303 Rifle. Without hearing protector muffs, I went with another 30 at the firing range sound over 170 db followed by pistol and fully automatic machine gun and I suffered experiencing tinnitus for a couple of years. My memory goes back at the walk after the early morning tranquillity is shattered by the ear-piercing horns of vehicles (112 db) on the road. The road rage drivers press the horns out of habit than necessity.

About the same time, loudspeakers take to the air from religious places. As the city gradually awakens, all kinda noise of 85 db in busy city traffic takes to the air. The louder sounds from industrial noise start beating and hammering. On festivals, the things go severe.

And the evening to late night DJ culture with high decibel audio systems embraced by most of the Hotels to cater to a select group of entertainment seekers is a nuisance. A shrill laugh/yelling comes out of those places every mid-night. The faint sounds like birdsong and rustling leaves are no longer heard nowadays and they do not come to city to rest during night. All these sparks and sounds shrilled through the night air.

There is no respite even after complaining to the concerned authority at the loudspeaker blazing from the terrace. Being GS Road Guwahati the business hub, it falls under commercial area. The hotel authority had the perfect pretext for making their move against citizens’ outcry. They are least bothered about the inconvenience of the residents.

Everybody entitled to enjoy their natural right of sleeping in a peaceful atmosphere. Infants, students and senior citizens are entitled to enjoy their peace and silence in the evening and in natural, peaceful atmosphere. Their privileges must be honoured. It also failed to impress me in the rock capital Shillong at the weekend, where music lovers thronged the Polo Towers at Irish Pub. It gets worse during weekends. Those are such bizarre and unconvincing fusion of musical forces.

Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Government of India came up with Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules in the year 2000 that were amended a few times later. Section 5 of these rules lay down the restrictions on the use of loud speakers, public address (PA) systems and sound producing instruments.

(1) A loud speaker or a PA system shall not be used except after obtaining permission.
(2) It shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication
(3) The state Government may permit between 10.00 pm to 12.00 midnight during festive occasion not exceeding fifteen days in a calendar year.
(4) The noise level shall not exceed 10 Db (A) above the ambient noise standards for the area of 75 Db (A) whichever is lower.
(5) In private place, it shall not exceed more than 5 dB (A)

Do we follow those SC guidelines? We live in a civilised society. We see no reason why the hotels should not organise such parties within closed walls of their premises with small speaker circuit? Will the District Administration take action to arrest such vandalism? It is a necessity to raise public awareness to control PA systems within threshold limits. There is no place finer to spend a night out by disturbing others.

We all know how police stopped Pandit Jasaraj’s show in Pune in 2002.Karnataka Government decided to open pubs and bars till 1 am only on Fridays and Saturdays with permissible 40 decibels noise level. The Garba, the nine day festival in Mumbai, is allowed to play loudspeakers for just two days only till 10 pm deadline with a limit of 55 db. Even any small organisers that don't use loudspeakers are prohibited to stay open until midnight.

Justin Bieber, the Canadian Singer came, he sang and he wound up the show on time in Mumbai recently. No matter what fan insisted to sing another hit. But he had a purpose and walked off the stage by 9.50 pm. National Green Tribunal has recently ordered Rajasthan State Control Board and the Udaipur district administration to take action against such noise polluting hotels in their cities. Mumbai Police took against this year Ganpati festivals after they were found with DJs who played songs on loudspeakers at 100 decibels noise level.

Assamese Bihu the agrarian festival is being hijacked by urban community. Now they began to organize on a large scale. But here again the question arises. Are we celebrating the festival in a right way? Concerned citizen often calls for complaint of late night celebration and its sound of threshold intensity. Although the month long celebration is famous for mass audience, there are people felt uncomfortable on the other side of the fence. We support a healthy culture that recognizes and values for communities. We leave in a civilized society and should do things right to enjoy festival by connecting people in a right time.

The presence of such harmful impurity carries poisonous effects to our environment. City dwellers face from headache to difficulties in sleeping, haring errors, tension and pain because of pollution of air by sound. The intensity of sound from aircraft system is a major contributor towards air pollution up to 150 decibel. The human hearing range depends on both the pitch and the loudness of the sound. Pitch is measured in Hertz (Hz) and loudness is in decibels (dB). While 20 to 20,000Hz forms the human hearing range. As far as loudness for human is concerned, sounds that are more than 85dB can be dangerous for hearing in prolonged exposure.

It is a well-known fact that rules restricting the use of loud speaker at most religious places are rarely followed in India. There are umpteen number of occasion where it violates the Forest (Conservation) Act and The Biological Diversity Act and National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 prohibits those things within less than one km range of forest lands. As per a WHO study, “One million healthy life years are lost due to traffic noise.

Aizawl the first no honking policy has set an example for the entire nation to follow. Being no horn zone Gangtok is really appreciating. Delhi has also started no-honking areas to carry awareness campaign. Surprisingly there are sounds that human may go with hearing loss from ambulance 125 db, fireworks 145 db and tractor 105 db. But we continue hearing that loudness in the air.


* Kamal Baruah wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kamal(DOT)baruah(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on December 10, 2018.



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