One of the basic principles of the armed forces is to tackle the bull by the horn, and the Navy seem to be taking this principle quite literally. The Navy claim that they are bearing the brunt of noise pollution from hooting boats for some time now, and want the vicinity around the Gateway of India (GOI) to be declared as 'No-Honking Zone'.
In a letter written to the state government and to an NGO, they have raised concerns about the rise in noise levels at the GOI. They claim that the rise in noise pollution is due to the continuous honking by yachts and ferry boats parked at the shore making it unbearable for people residing and working in the area.
The Navy have also raised concerns over the adverse affects of the rise in noise pollution on human health, which they allege is leading to a rise in blood pressure and stress levels. Hence not only have they brought this to the notice of the state government but they are also seeking help from Awaaz foundation, an NGO, to help monitor the decibel levels at the shore.
"Time and again we have raised this issue with the boat owners, but to no avail. The increase in the noise level has led us to draft a letter to the government. We have also sought help from an NGO to monitor the noise levels at Gateway of India," said an official from Navy (western region), on condition of anonymity.
"These boats and ferries are fitted with electronic horns which produce loud and unpleasant sounds. The decibel levels of these horns are much beyond the permissible limit. The area should instead be declared as a no-honking zone," he said.
However, the ferry boat owners claim that the allegation made by the Navy is illogical. Iqbal, secretary Gateway Elephanta Jal Vahatuk Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, said, "We had received a complaint from the Navy. We take measures to make sure that the noise level is not high in the area. But boats need to honk to avert any impediments. Making the area a no-honking zone is not possible, as like cars, even boats need to honk."
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz foundation, said, "I have received an email from the Navy requesting to discourage the use of high-decibel horns by watercrafts at the GOI in accordance with the existing law stipulated in the Gazette of India, ministry of environment and forests notification dated June 11, 2010. I will soon be going to monitor the decibel level and will only be able to know the situation then."
Permissible decibel limits
Area Day Night
Residential 55 45
Commercial 65 55
Industrial 75 70
Silence 50 40
Note: Day time shall mean from 6 am to 10 pm, while night time is from 10 pm to 6 am