Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has welcomed the decision of city police to ban gongs during visarjan procession tomorrow. Police officials claimed the move would help reduce decibel levels drastically.
Commenting on the move, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1) Makarand Ranade said, “We have received numerous complaints from citizens about noise created by gongs. Also, our officials are worst affected as they stand at one place for the entire day. Most importantly, dhol pathaks have agreed to oblige.”
Confirming that they would be abiding by the new rule to curb noise pollution, President of Dhol-Tasha Mahasangh Parag Thakur said all troupes were asked not to play gongs during their performances.
“In a recently concluded experiment, we calculated noise levels. At first, we recorded it for a pathak that was performing without a gong. Here the noise level was 80 db. But when we recorded noise level for a pathak that was playing a gong, the level went up by almost 10 to 15 dB,” said Thakur.
MPCB officials have finalised 20 spots in the city where they would be recoding noise levels on the occasion of Anant Chaturdashi. Last year, noise level at half of the 19 locations chosen had crossed 100 dB. “The sound from gongs is unbearable and causes a sudden increase in noise level,” MPCB PRO and scientific officer at R B Sorte said.
The rising noise pollution in the city is taking its toll on the health of the citizens, claimed doctors. Specialists said the number of patients visiting them to seek relief from hearing impairment and sleep disorders is on the rise. They said even members from dhol-tasha pathaks visit them seeking a cure for noise-related problems they suffer due continuous exposure to the loud music.
“Just last year I had treated a member from a dhol group for tinnitus. He recovered after a proper treatment. A lot of people visit to seek cure for tinnitus after the festival. A patient suffering from this condition can constantly hear a ringing or booming sensation in one or both ears,” said Dr Seema Shaikh, vice-president of Pune ENT Association and president of Indian Association Of Surgeons For Sleep Apnoea (IASSA).
“Similarly, several people visit us complaining of sleep disorders and other noise-related problems after the end of the festive season,” she added. Dr Sumit Bhatti, an ENT surgeon, said, “Temporary loss of hearing is a common complaint after festivals. People can lose their hearing permanently if not treated in time.”
Total number of pathaks registered with Dhol-Tasha Mahasangh