Chilika, the largest lagoon along the east coast of India, will be free from sound pollution soon.

The Chilika Development Authority (CDA) has taken initiatives to motivate boat operators to use noiseless mechanised boats in the blue lagoon, an official said today.

The National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad, under the Central government's Department of Science and Technology, has agreed to provide technical know-how to innovators to redesign boats that operate in the lake.

More than 4,000 mechanised boats are said to operate in the 1,165 sq. km lake for fishing and ferrying tourists. The boat operators generally used 9HP marine diesel engines in their mechanised boats, with noise level going beyond 90 decibels, which is beyond the permissible level of 80 decibels for human beings.

In addition, this is detrimental to the lake's dolphin population and a source of disturbance to migratory birds. The lake harbours the world’s largest lagoon population of Irrawadi dolphin (146 in 2009). Chilika is also the largest wintering ground for the migratory waterfowl and about 10 lakh birds from 225 species congregate in the lagoon every winter.

A team of innovators and engineers from the NIF recently visited Chilika, inspected the boats, and have discussed the problems with the stakeholders. The team stressed on designing sound-proof casings for the boat engines to reduce the present noise levels, said the chief executive of the CDA, Ajit Patnaik. The visiting experts also suggested modifications of the engine.

The innovators would work individually on the engine casing and silencer at their workshop, he said. The NIF would coordinate and suggest when they are ready to come to Chilika to develop a prototype.

The CDA will provide logistic support including boat, boat engine, and travel expenses of innovators and expenses for buying articles, instruments, accessories and provide accommodation for developing the prototype, Mr. Patnaik said. The NIF has also agreed to coordinate with the engine manufacturers to explore the possibility of tepid modification, he added.