The dhamaka earlier this week may have been a tad less deafening compared to last year, but Jamshedpur is not quite there as far as honouring noise norms are concerned.
The decibel barrier was once again flagrantly breached in silence zones and residential areas on Diwali, not to mention industrial and commercial hubs across the steel city, despite concerted efforts by environment activists and educational institutions to instil civic sense among revellers.
According to findings of the regional office of the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB), which kept tabs on eight pockets of the city between 6pm and 11pm on November 13, loud crackers were most rampantly used in the commercial hub of Bistupur, pitching it to the top of the noise list with 90dB.
A similar survey was carried out on November 7 in the same areas for a comparative study.
The Central Pollution Control Board’s permissible limit for a commercial area is 66dB. The same for an industrial area is 70dB. For silence zones like hospitals, schools and courts, the decibel cap is 40, while that for residential pockets it is 45.
The survey indicated a decibel distress of 62.53 near MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi and 60.77 at Tata Main Hospital (TMH) in Bistupur. Though these figures show a dip in noise pollution levels compared to last year — 71.22dB for MGM and 70.05dB for TMH — the city still has a long way to go.
Similarly, residential areas like Golmuri and Kasidih recorded 72dB and 79.39dB, respectively. In 2011, Golmuri was noisier at 77.49dB, but Kasidih calmer at 75.75 dB. Kadma, also a residential pocket, recorded 71.26dB this Diwali against last year’s 77.79dB. The civil court area in Sakchi recorded 56.72dB this year
The industrial hub of Kalpanapuri in Adityapur was the only place that adhered to the CPCB cap of 70dB, a winning trait largely attributed to the sparse population in the area. The S Type neighbourhood of Adityapur, on the other hand, recorded 77dB.
Prolonged exposure to high-decibel and smoke-emitting crackers can cause cardiac and respiratory ailments. “Severe noise pollution can lead to deafness, stress and dizziness,” said an expert.
Despite the decibel demon being on the prowl for the past few years, neither regional pollution monitors nor the East Singhbhum district authorities seem to have an action plan to control the menace.
JSPCB regional officer R.N. Choudhary contended that they were merely part of a regulatory outfit. “It is the job of respective district administrations to take action based on our survey reports,” he said.
Additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar maintained that they would wait for a formal report from the pollution control board before drawing up control measures. On why the administration did not act on earlier reports, he retorted that it was time to think of the future instead of brooding on the past.
How can Diwali noise pollution be controlled?