Laws on use of loudspeakers are observed more in the breach, writes G. Anand.
A considerable number of families send their children to the homes of relatives living away from religious festival areas to ensure that electronically amplified high-decibel music, relayed insensitively from loudspeaker clusters, does not disrupt the students preparing hard for their academic year-end examinations.
The city police seem unconcerned about the plight of thousands of victims of sound pollution caused by the unrestricted use of loudspeakers, a resident association office-bearer said.
Citizens who have dared complain against the blatant violation of the law have either been ignored by the police or have faced the wrath of bullies who profited from organising local festivities.
Law enforcers continue to issue licences liberally for use of loudspeakers and rarely bother whether the mike operators adhere to the decibel limit set by the High Court (not more than 55 during day and 45 during night). Loudspeakers should not be engaged before 6 a.m. or after 10 p.m., a law which is observed more in the breach.
State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) chairman B.B. Koshy's direction to the police on Thursday to restrict the use of loudspeakers was on its face an indictment of their alleged inaction on this front. The forum had received a spate of complaints from the public accusing the police of apathy to their grievances in this matter.
The police said they had not been issued any devices to gauge sound levels.
A human right activist said banned conical type speakers were concealed inside box-type loudspeakers to amplify sound much above the permissible limit.
He said the police should limit issuing mike permits. The use of public address systems for marketing and advertising should be prohibited. Those seeking sanction to use loudspeakers should be made to deposit at least Rs.2,000 for each speaker. If the norms are violated, the deposit should be forfeited from the offender.
K. Sadasivan, a public-minded citizen, in his book on the ill-effects of sound pollution, stated that noise destroyed privacy, efficiency, safety, and health of citizens. It aggravated the condition of those suffering from high blood pressure, coronary disease, ulcer, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and headache. Noise impeded concentration, learning and analysis.