KSPCB fails to book a single noise polluter

Not only has the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) failed to check the rising levels of noise pollution but it has also not booked any individual or organisation for violating noise pollution norms. 

The High Court of Karnataka recently directed the KSPCB to check rising vehicular noise pollution as it was badly affecting the traffic police personnel. The KSPCB is, however, waiting for specific directions from the court to take strict action against the violators. At the same time, the KSPCB officers will hold discussions with their counterparts in the transport department and traffic police by mid-March on how to reduce noise pollution. 

At the meeting, the KSPCB will explain to officials of the transport department and police officers of the rank of DySP and above the various types of noise pollution and how to check them, highly placed sources in the board said. 

“Besides, we will request the court to grant us judicial powers. At present, the KSPCB can only send letters to other departments, requesting them to take action and warn the polluters,” the KSPCB official told Deccan Herald. “There is also a need to remove the ambiguities in the law. So far, not a single polluter has been penalised.” 

But this is not the only area where the KSPCB has been found wanting. The board has not even studied which parts of Bangalore have most noise pollution. It will soon survey residential, commercial and sensitive areas in Bangalore. “We will have to do it because the demarcation is not clear. Also, no government organisation has maintained strict distinctions in areas,” the official explained.

“Once this is done, we will not allow noise pollution above 40 decibels within 1,000 metres of residential and sensitive areas (near educational, religious and healthcare institutions).” The official hoped that if the norms were followed strictly, noise pollution in most parts of Bangalore would be checked. 

Radhika Poovaiah, director of Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing, says polluters should be fined more than the present Rs 100 as the impact of noise pollution is far graver. Stringent laws are also needed. 

Noise pollution can cause among other things permanent hearing loss, improper digestion, fluctuating blood pressure, sleep disorder and disturbed attention. After vehicles, the construction industry causes the most noise pollution. Since localities in Bangalore and elsewhere are mixed (residential and commercial), noise levels have become unmanageable. The worst-affected areas in the City are K R Market and Central Silk Board junction.

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