While citizens made merry and bade farewell to Bappa on Friday, noise levels touched a staggering 112dB at Ranade road, Dadar.
Aside from Ranade Road, noise levels all across the city were almost double the permissible levels mentioned within The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
The noise levels were caused by a combination of traditional dhols and music via blaring loudspeakers. While carts, cars and a few tempos carrying the idols were not big on the noise factor, big trucks made their immersion journeys supplemented by loudspeakers playing popular Bollywood numbers, accompanied by dhol-tasha bands.
“Dhols, which are traditionally supposed to have a natural skin or hide membrane, are now made with plastic to produce louder sound. Some of these dhols were further amplified by loudspeakers,” said Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz foundation, an NGO fighting noise pollution.
Abdulali had written to the chief minister Prithviraj Chauhan last week requesting him to ensure that dhol-tasha was not practiced or played in silent or residential zones after the given time. She had also pressed for the strict implementation of noise regulations during the festival, since this was the time they tended to get excessive. She added that the usually noisy areas like Shivaji Park, Girgaon Chowpatty and Shiv Sena Bhavan did not use loudspeakers and were quieter in comparison to previous years.
Dr Mahesh Bedekar, a city-based private practitioner who has filed numerous PILs against noise pollution in the past, pointed attention to the harm caused to infants and children due to high noise levels.”Proximity to loudspeakers and dhols is very harmful for them as their bodies are still forming and their hearing is very sensitive,” he said.
Exposure to noise levels above 80dB can have prolonged ill effects on an individual’s health like irreversible hearing loss, hypertension and even severe heart conditions.