“Boom goes the dynamite”
Perhaps it is just as well, then, that Mumbai’s city council has approved plans to demarcate more than 1,100 “silence zones”, each with a radius of 100m, across India’s financial capital.
And how will these “silence zones” work?
“Honking, exploding [fire] crackers, and using loudspeakers in a silence zone will be illegal,” R. A. Rajeev, a municipal commissioner, said.
It focuses on schools, hospitals and courts but campaigners say that it will cover 85 per cent of central Mumbai.
Not that we need studies or figures to prove this but Mumbaikars are reportedly exposed to high levels of ambient noise resulting in issues with the auditory senses.
Residents of the city endure a constant 80 to 85 decibels (dB) of ambient noise, nearly twice the World Health Organisation’s maximum safety threshold, according to Sumaira Abdulali, who runs the Awaaz Foundation, an environmental charity. “People are getting quite deaf,” she said. “I know I am.”
The high-pitched buzz emitted by motorised rickshaws that swarm through the city can reach nearly 100dB – equivalent to the volume of a chainsaw when it is about a metre from a person’s ear.
The worst noise producers by far, however, are the illegal firecrackers that are set off to celebrate religious festivals. They can achieve 145dB – equivalent to being close to a jet engine on take-off.
While plans to fight sound pollution will probably be welcomed across the board, except maybe by the offenders, how the city of Mumbai plans to implement such zones is anyone’s guess. Off the bat, I can see pandus harassing innocent motorists for “honking” trying to make a quick buck off them.
Maybe our readers in Mumbai are seeing these measures being implemented and working or failing miserably. Either way we would like to (pun intended) hear from them.