PATH Article - 'Horning' drivers overtake WHO levels, city at risk
'Horning' drivers overtake WHO levels, city at risk
Walking on the roads or driving a car in Mumbai can expose residents to
noise levels that are well above the standards set by the World Health
Organization (WHO) for occupational noise that workers should be subject to.
And the law in India seems to be boosting the rising din, thanks to the
confusing and contradictory decibel levels set for horns here.
TOI joined anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation
in measuring the horns of cars, auto rickshaws and bikes on Bandra's tony
Carter Road between 6.35pm and 7.35pm on a weekday evening. Of the 17 cars
measured, all except two, had horn decibels that were over 85. A handful was
over 90dB and two were over 100dB. All the bike horns measured were over
100dB and for autos, the figures were between 90dB and 96.4dB. The ambient
noise level opposite the office of the additional commissioner of police (W)
on Carter Road was 111.8dB.
According to WHO guidelines, the relative risk of hearing loss to both men
and women rises when being continually exposed to noise levels over 85dB and
the danger gets higher at 90dB and above. People facing the highest risk of
hearing loss are those between 15 and 29 years who are continually exposed to
over 90dB noise. They are at an eight times higher risk than those subject to
less than 85dB noise. And according to the US Labour Department standards,
"all workers' exposure to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent
to 85dB for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss".
In other words, Mumbaikars who spend long hours on roads are being subject to
a noise level higher than what America subscribes for its worker, and well
above what WHO recommends for occupational exposure to noise.
However, the guidelines in India are contradictory and confusing. What do the
Indian guidelines say when it comes to the sound levels of car horns: One
section of the Indian Motor Vehicles Rules mandates that horn levels must
follow the requirements of the Automotive Industry Standards (AIS), while
another says the sound levels must comply with the standards specified by the
Environment Protection Rules. According to AIS guidelines, noise levels
should be between 83 dB and 112 dB for two- and three-wheelers. For all
others, the level is set at 93 dB-112 dB. Going by these guidelines,
virtually all the horns measured on Carter Road were well within the
permissible limit. But according to the Environment Protection Rules, the
noise levels for two- and three-wheelers should not exceed 80dB, while the
limit is 82dB for passenger cars. This guideline makes virtually all the
horns measured illegal.
While the National Green Tribunal has directed Maharashtra's pollution
control board to set standards for multi-tone horns and sirens, single-tone
horns (the ones Abdulali measured with TOI) have not been included.
"The health hazards caused by noise pollution have to be taken seriously
while drafting laws that are safe and implementable. Otherwise, there
complete chaos will continue on Indian roads," Abdulali said.
- Friends,The road noise level is very stressful and harm our system.We are recently bothered about construction work without any sound barrier which is making residents in nearby area completely insane. Mumbai BMC does not care to check as to how many stone breaking machines are used at one huge construction site at one time. Using many such machines continuously for 11 hours is not only bad for nearby residents, specially very senior citizens and babies but also for workers at the site driving these machines.Let us try to get proper rules and get them strictly implemented.Thanks & regards,--
- The concern you have raised is very valid and important. Persistent noise levels does immense harm to us.To hold the noise creators accountable, we will need to monitor the noise levels - both in terms of duration and dB levels. A project called Noisetube - http://noisetube.net/ can be very useful for us.If you have 5 people in your locality who have Android based phones and are willing to capture the noise levels in your neighborhood, please let me know. I will meet the group which is interested in taking this issue forward, by helping them calibrate the Noisetube mobile app and start monitoring and sending the Noise level information to the relevant authorities. Once we have credible data to back us up, the authorities will have to act on the problem.Do let me know if there are people in your neighborhood who are willing to take this noise issue forward. My email is rsutaria@...Rgds,Ronak
---In email@example.com, wrote:Friends,The road noise level is very stressful and harm our system.