The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday observed that noise pollution had become “rampant” in Kolkata, Howrah and the rest of Bengal and pointed out that “absolutely no action being taken on the ground” to stop violation of noise norms.
The bench of Justice B. Amit Sthalekar and expert member Saibal Dasgupta, in response to a petition filed by environment activist Subhas Datta, also said DJs were still playing loud music in violation of noise norms.
It criticised the West Bengal Pollution Control Board for not responding to the queries raised by the bench in its earlier order on April 25, particularly related to the use of sound metres and sound limiters.
“Noise pollution has been rampant in the city/district Kolkata (Calcutta), Howrah, Hooghly… in the entire State of West Bengal,” observed the bench. “No reply has been given by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board which is the regulatory authority with regard to our queries… (raised in) our previous order dated 25.04.2022.”
The order also pointed out that “no statistics have been filed… whether regular checking for noise levels caused by vehicles, two-wheelers as well as four-wheelers… as well as trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles at vantage spots has been done and is being done and whether any penalty has been recovered from the violators of the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000”.
A senior PCB official said they would only be able to comment on the order after analysing it but pointed out that they have no mechanism to measure noise levels of vehicles on the road.
“According to the law, every vehicle has a noise limit at the manufacturing level. The authorities have to undertake regular monitoring on the road to verify whether the noise limit was being adhered to or not,” said Biswajit Mukherjee, retired chief law officer of the state pollution control board.
“We find that there is absolutely no action being taken on the ground or at least nothing is visible and nothing has been placed before us to show that the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000 are being strictly implemented,” the bench said.