Noise Pollution in India
Last Update: March 2023
This article deals with ‘Noise Pollution in India – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Environment’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here.
- The unwanted and undesirable sound or sound that can disrupt one’s quality of life is called noise.
- Noise pollution is the phrase used to describe when there is excessive “noise” in the environment.
- World Health Organization has prescribed optimum noise level as 45 dB by day and 35 dB by night. Anything above 80 dB is hazardous.
Sources of Noise Pollution
- Industrialization (industries use big machines)
- Poor Urban Planning: Congested houses and large families sharing small space
- Social Events: Such as marriage, parties, pubs or places of worship
- Vehicles: A large number of vehicles run and honk on roads
- Construction Activities
- Household appliances like noise from the TV, Radio, Air Conditioner, cooking appliances etc. These might be minor contributors but affect the quality of life badly.
India suffers from high levels of Noise pollution. For example, World Health Organisation’s “Worldwide Hearing Index” reported that Delhi is the second-worst city with the highest noise pollution (Guangzhou in China is the worst and Zurich in Switzerland is the best).
Effects of Prolonged Noise Pollution
- Physical Effects: It leads to irreversible Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), heart disease, high blood pressure, stress-related illness, sleep disruption and productivity loss.
- Physiological effects:
- Depression and fatigue
- Aggressive behaviour
- Straining of senses and annoyance
- Psychomotor impacts
- Sleeping disorders: Loud noise can impact a person’s sleeping cycle. Due to this, a person’s performance may go down in the office.
- Effect on Wildlife: Wildlife is dependent on sounds for their various functions, and animals may become easy prey.
Legal and Constitutional Provisions
- Article 48-A regarding protection and improvement of the environment)
- Article 51-A (fundamental duties) of the Constitution of India.
- Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: The act includes noise in the definition of ‘air pollutant’.
- Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules: Under the rules, permissible noise limits are as follows
- Industrial Areas: 75 decibels during the day and 70 decibels during the night
- Commercial Areas: 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels during the night
- Residential Areas: 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels during the night
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has set up the National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network (NANMN), covering 35 locations in seven metro cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
- Article 48-A, i.e. protection and improvement of the environment
- Article 51-A, i.e. fundamental duties of the Constitution of India
- Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has established the National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network (NANMN), covering 35 locations in seven metro cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
- Personal Level: NIHL can be prevented by
- Dietary supplements rich in antioxidants
- Use of earplugs
- Scientific urban planning: Transport terminals, Industries, airports, and railway terminals sight should be far from living spaces.
- Green Belt, i.e. planting trees in and around noise sources.
- Lubricating the industrial machinery to reduce their noise levels
- Making and implementing laws in effective ways to control noise pollution. E.g., regulations regarding loudspeakers are present but not applied strictly.