Bangalore country's seventh noisiest city

Vehicular density, construction activity, use of diesel generator sets and loudspeakers blamed
Last Updated 16 September 2012, 17:22 IST

Bangalore, long considered the garden city, now has a dubious distinction. It has been ranked the country’s seventh noisiest city and the tag is bound to worry the citizens, long concerned about rising levels of air pollution and ever-increasing number of vehicles.

At 65 decibels, the City’s noise level has exceeded permissible levels in residential and commercial zones.

The ranking is the result of the findings by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). Dr A S Sadashivaiah, chairperson of the KSPCB, said, “The top polluter is Mumbai, followed by Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai Hyderabad and Bangalore.”

Sadashivaiah said the study was an initiative of the the CPCB, which had recommended the formation of a committee to identify and demarcate the noisiest zones in the City.
The study took into consideration parameters like the number of vehicles, indiscriminate honking by vehicles, indiscipline in driving, construction and development activity, use of diesel generator sets and loudspeakers.

Case study

Noise levels were measured at 14 different locations, including industrial areas such as International Tech Park, Bommasandra and Yelahanka; commercial areas such as Koramangala, Jalahalli, Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru International Airport and K R Puram; residential areas like Ulsoor near Someshwara temple, Kengeri, Vijayanagar, Hanumanthanagar and sensitive or silent zones such as ESI Rajajinagar, ESI Indiranagar and Victoria Hospital.

Interestingly, industrial areas were found to give off noise only slightly above the permissible limit.

In contrast, commercial and residential areas were found to have a high level of noise, beyond permissible limits, even at night.

Currently, the acceptable limit for industrial areas during the day is 75 decibels and 70 decibels at night. Commercial areas have the limits at 65 and 55 decibels respectively.
For residential areas, the permissible limits are 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night. For silent zones, it is 50 and 40 decibels respectively.

Noisy hospitals

Sensitive zones such as ESI Rajajinagar, ESI Indiranagar and Victoria Hospital give off almost one and a half times more noise than the permissible limits. Noise level at ESI Indiranagar was 85.5 decibels, 79.5 decibels in ESI Rajajinagar and 79 decibels in Victoria Hospital area, which exceed the noise levels of residential zones. According to experts, constant exposure to high noise levels results in eventual deafness.

Metro not guilty

When asked whether construction associated with Bangalore Metro was responsible for the increase in noise pollution in the City, the Pollution Control Board officials said the Metro construction was not responsible as it had been following prescribed regulations.
Instead, officials attributed the noise to other development works and private construction.

Monitoring units

The KSPCB has identified 10 ambient noise monitoring locations. Monitoring devices have been installed at five junctions and they operate round the clock.

“Under phase one of the programme, five monitoring units have been installed. Another five will be installed shortly,” said Dr Nagappa, a scientific officer at the KSPCB.

The five monitoring units are at Parisara Bhavan on Church Street; Nisarga Bhavan at Shane Gurvinahalli; BTM II Stage; Peenya Industrial Area; Marathahalli. Five more units will be at Graphite India Limited; Yeshwantpur police station; Domlur; Victoria Hospital; Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health.

(Published 16 September 2012, 17:22 IST)

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