Horn-shaped loudspeakers used for festivities in violation of rules

Residents of Maramon, Kozhencherry, and surrounding areas are left to bear with the blaring noise from loudspeakers, installed in connection with various public programme and religious festivals.

Many local people complained that organisers were using horn-shaped loudspeakers, banned by law, for church and temple festivals in the locality. These loudspeakers tied to tree and electric posts in crowded junctions and residential areas, were causing intolerable noise pollution, making a mockery of the laws of the land, alleged Thomas P. Thomas, environmentalist and Botany professor at St. Thomas College, Kozhencherry.

“No religion prescribes that prayers should cause discomfort to others or that speeches in connection with festivals be amplified and taken to distant locations,” he said. Though music and dance stimulate brain activities, and removes fatigue, its excessiveness may have the opposite effect, disturbing work, rest, sleep, and communication of people in the affected area, according to Mr. Thomas.

As per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the noise level at the boundary of a public place, where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 dB above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 dB, whichever is lower.

Law says that “no one shall beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or beat or sound any instrument or use any sound amplifier at night (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.) except in public emergencies and the peripheral noise level of privately owned sound system shall not exceed by more than 5 dB than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it is used, at the boundary of the private place.”

“These rules are violated in many parts of the district, thereby badly affecting the mental and physical wellbeing of the people,” Mr. Thomas said.

He alleged that the State Pollution Control Board as well as the police authorities, who grant sanction for using public address system, never took action against the law-breakers. “Now, university examinations are on and students have a hard time concentrating on their studies due to the noise pollution,” he added.