Noise level on rise near hospitals

Decibel level in residential areas surpass that in industrial areas: KSPCB study

Noise level on rise near hospitals

The noise level at the ESI Hospital Junction in Indiranagar exceeds the stipulated standard by a whopping 85.5 percent, according to a study conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) during 2012-13.

Hospitals and residential areas are supposed to be silent zones with a noise level of below 50 decibel. However, the present finding on the rising noise levels near health centres is worrisome, particularly for patients. High noise level increases the demand for oxygen. The noise level in hospital and residential areas now surpasses that in industrial areas. Following directions from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the KSPCB monitored noise levels at 15 locations across the City. The places included ITPL in Whitefield, industrial areas in Bommasandra and Yelahanka, residential zones such as Ulsoor, Kengeri, Vijayanagar, Hanumanthanagar and Hebbal.

Accordingly, compared with the previous study, the noise level this time went up by 71 per cent in Indiranagar, 59 per cent in Rajajinagar and 58 per cent at Victoria Hospital.“At Indiranagar, the increase in noise level is due to indiscriminate movement of vehicles, and at Rajajinagar, it is the havoc created by private taxis,” said a KSPCB official on the condition of anonymity.

Dr H Paramesh, Director and Paediatric Pulmonologist, Lakeside Medical Centre, said constant exposure to noise pollution leads to deafness. “The sound will have a cumulative effect and causes deafness. If the noise level is high near hospitals, it leads to increase in demand for oxygen for patients in intensive care units and children in incubators. This is also scientifically proven,” he said. 

Initiatives taken

KSPCB chairperson Vaman Acharya said the Board had already taken steps to bring down pollution levels at some places. 

“We launched No Honking Day on Mondays; we have also written to the police commissioner and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to ban multiple horns, parking and reverse horns by vehicle users. We held some awareness programmes, too. The efforts have paid off. In some places, the noise pollution has reduced to some extent,” he said.

He said the Board has spoken to BBMP on declaring some areas as silent, residential and no-honking zones, based on the decibel level.

The Supreme Court, in December 2013, directed the Union and state governments to remove multi-toned horns within a month.

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