Pune has set a record of sorts during Ganesh immersion procession this year as the noise levels not only crossed the permissible limits in the city, but also exceeded the maximum noise limits in Mumbai.
What is shocking is that the only place in the entire state to have registered an average noise level above 100 decibels is Pune’s Alka Chowk (102.5 dB).
Anil Mohekar, regional officer of the Western unit of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), confirmed that noise levels in the city registered an increase this year as compared to last year.
The noise levels exceeded 100 decibels for a few hours on the last day of procession at four locations in the city — Babajan Chowk, Alka Chowk, Thergaon and Karve Road.
The MPCB monitors noise pollution levels during Ganesh festival every year in all the districts as noise has been recognised as an ambient air pollutant. According to MPCB norms, permissible noise level during the day is 50 dB in silence zones and 55 dB in residential areas.
“There is a marginal rise in noise levels this year as compared to last year. It could be because the procession was extended this year for sometime,” added Mohekar.
Noise levels were monitored at 20 locations in the city, including Alka Chowk, MG Road, Babu Genu Chowk, Chaphekar Chowk (Chinchwad), Dange Chowk (Thergaon) Deccan, Hadapsar, Mahatma Phule Mandai, Sarasbaug, Khadki, Pimpri, City Post Chowk, Laxmi Road, Yerawada, Shaniwar Peth, Swargate, Satara Road, Shivajinagar and Karve Road.
After Alka Chowk, Dange Chowk (97.3 dB), Mitra Mandal Chowk in Sarasbaug (97.2 dB) and Shagun Chowk on Laxmi Road (97 dB) were the noisiest.
Meanwhile, Ganesh mandals refused to accept that traditional dhol-tasha troupes or any extension in the procession was responsible for the increase in sound pollution levels.
Ashok Godse of prestigious Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Trust said, “If the noise levels on Laxmi Road are measured on a normal day, they would still be very high. To blame the dhol-tasha troupes for increase in noise pollution levels is not right.”
Anna Thorat, president of Akhil Mandai Mandal Trust, said that this year, the number of people who had participated in the procession had exceeded all records.
“The combined effect of the crowd and traditional instruments might have increased the levels of sound pollution,” he said. Police commissioner Gulabrao Pol refused to comment on the matter.