Usually, the first day of Navratri is enough to give you a glimpse of what the noise situation is likely to be on the next eight days of the festival. Since yesterday was the first day, SUNDAY MiD DAY decided to visit mandals across the western suburbs along with Sumaira Abdulali, an environmentalist and president of Awaaz Foundation, which has actively started noise pollution campaigns in the city since 2002. The noise levels were measured at two mandals.
Navratri Mahotsav 2013, next to Mithibai College in Vile Parle, was the first spot. The noise levels emitting from this mandal, including the external noise levels, was 85 decibels (dB). However, on measuring the noise levels any external traffic noise, came to not more than 78dB. Commenting on the recordings, Abdulali said, “Last year, at the beginning of Navratri, I visited mandals in Borivli and Ghatkopar. At that time, I recorded higher decibel levels upto 90dB, as the frequency of mandals in each area was much higher.
Compared to that, it is slightly lower this year which is a positive sign.” Though the Navratri celebrations were on in full swing, once we had crossed the road, the noise was not that audible, much to the relief of the residents. However, the second mandal in Vile Parle (E), where this correspondent went with Abdulali, the decibel levels recorded were much higher. At the Shiv Amba Mitra Mandal, the celebrations were on in full swing on the road itself. The decibel levels recorded there by Abdulali was as high as 95.4 dB.
The time of the recording was 9.30 pm, half an hour away from the stipulated time to stop using loudspeakers and bursting firecrackers. “Noise levels tend to go higher when drum beats are played along with the songs. As this mandal is next to a residential area, the noise levels are quite high,” she said. It was further observed that though policemen were present at the mandal, no directions were given to reduce the noise being made. No complaints were put forward by residents either.
Citizens’ noise map
A new app ‘Noise Meter’ has been designed for smart phones which uses the in-built microphone in your phone to determine the level of sounds it detects and displays it in decibels (dB). One can also post these readings online to compare the higest dB levels around the city.