Nearly 50 families residing at Model Colony are asking the civic body to shut down a biogas plant or change its operation timings because its leaving them tossing and turning every night. The plant installed by the PMC has been giving residents sleepless nights due to the loud noise created when the generator running on biogas is pressed into operation. Residents say since it began operation two years ago, they can’tget sleep at night and are dealing with other health problems.
The generator operates between 7 pm to 1 am, and generates electricity that is utilised to light up street lamps. According to residents, when the generator is switched on, the noise levels touch 72 decibels, which is way above the prescribed limit of 45 decibels for residential areas at night.
Aasawari Pandit, a resident of Suyesh Residence in Model Colony, said, “The generator emits a significant level of noise making it difficult to sleep or perform any other activities. It is equally difficult for students to concentrate on their studies.”
Pandit added, “We invited Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials to our house to check the noise level. They said that the noise far exceeded the prescribed levels in residential areas. In two of my rooms, the level recorded was 58 and 72 db respectively.”
Taking a dig at Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak’s recent speech delivered while presenting the civic budget that stressed on installing more biogas plants in the city to generate power, Pandit said, “He should also consider the noise pollution due to eco-friendly projects.”
Monika Shah, another resident from the colony, said, “We have been putting up with this noise problem since last two years, and senior citizens are the ones most affected. In addition, the excess biogas generated (methane and higher hydrocarbons) is burned in open air at the plant, which raises the threat of fire. Foul smelling toxic sulphur and phosphorus compounds are released in the air while waste is fed in the plant, which leaves a bad odour. We have been constantly following up with authorities to take some action, but to no avail.”
“We want an immediate halt to the plant operation, as the issue has became critical due to the noise and air pollution, which has impacted the health of elders and hampering children’s studies, ” added Shah. “We will approach the courts, if the PMC does not listen to us,” said Model Colony residents collectively.
The other side
Suresh Jagtap, deputy commissioner, Solid Waste Management, PMC, said, “The first thing I will do is install sound barriers near the generator. Secondly, we will also consider the possibility of switching the generated power for other purposes rather than utilise it for lighting up streets. The pollution level concerns will also be monitored with the help of experts. Ultimately, the project is for the benefit of citizens, and shouldn’t be hazardous to the health of citizens.”