The state pollution control board received three complaints on Friday from residents who alleged that microphones being played outside their homes were emitting noise more than the permissible level.
The three complaints came from Dilkusha Street in Kolkata, Dhaniakhali in Hooghly district and Shibpur in Howrah.
On Saturday, the automatic noise monitoring stations of the pollution control board (PCB) also showed that the permissible noise limit was breached at several places.
An environment activist said it was disheartening to see that the permissible noise level had been breached so early during Durga Puja, which is not known to be an occasion marked by high decibel noise. Naba Dutta, secretary of Sabuj Mancha, said it did not augur well for the coming days.
“Noise levels are usually higher during the Durga Puja immersion and during Kali Puja. One can only imagine how the situation will be on those days if noise levels are already exceeding the limit,” said Dutta.
At one point of time on Saturday afternoon, the website of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board showed that the noise limit had been breached in eight out of its 10 automatic noise monitoring stations in Kolkata.
The noise level had reached 89.4 decibel at Bagbazar, a residential zone, at 4.50pm. At 6.10pm, the noise level there was 81.4 decibel.
At Satyajit Ray Park in Patuli, another residential zone, the noise level was 75.2 decibel at 4.50pm and 73.1 decibel at 6.10pm. Another residential zone where the sound limit was breached was Birati’s Neelanchal. The noise level recorded there at 4.40pm was 58.6 decibel and 76.6 decibel at 6pm.
The permissible level of sound at residential places is 55 decibel between 6am and 10pm, and 45 decibel between 10pm and 6am.
Places within the city, and the state, have been classified as industrial, commercial, residential and silence zones. The upper limits vary according to the zone.
“What else is expected when several puja committees have fitted hundreds of microphones within a large radius of their pandals,” said Dutta.
The monitoring station at SSKM Hospital, a silence zone, also showed that the upper limit of 50 decibel during day had been breached there, too, though marginally. The reading at 5pm was 50.2 decibel and at 6.20pm was 52.2 decibel.
About the three complaints received on Friday, an official of the PCB said the police reached each of the places and either reduced the sound level or turned off the loudspeakers. “We had forwarded the complaints to police. We did not receive any repeat complaint,” said the PCB official.