Special lecture on ‘Acoustics' held for school students

“The underwater noise levels today are ten times more than they were a few decades ago, which is a serious worry for life on land and water because sustainable ocean space makes way for sustainable land space,” said S.K. Bhattacharya, Head, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras.

He was delivering a special lecture on ‘Acoustics' for school students organised by the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre in collaboration with Madras India Regional Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Foundation here recently.

Listing the various ill-effects of underwater noise pollution on marine mammals, Professor Bhattacharya said that anthropogenic noise due to activities like commercial shipping, Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) activities and hydrocarbon-related engineering activities contributed a great deal in increasing the noise levels.

Marine mammals exposed to underwater noise pollution suffer from displacement, trauma, stranding, internal injuries, eye haemorrhaging, auditory damage, loss of power of recognition and sometimes even death, he added.

“The marine mammals exposed to Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) above a certain level can sometimes face mass extinction,” he said.

The other significant activities detrimental to the sustenance of a healthy marine system, he added, were dredging, drilling and exploration, near shore construction and military activities on the sea.

On the various statutory bodies of seawater regulation, regulatory mechanisms on water and other environmental issues, Professor Bhattacharya said that the ocean taxonomy needed to be documented better.

On the need to incorporate acoustical techniques at the design stage in building cinemas, auditoria and studios, A. Ramachandraiah of the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-M, said: “You cannot correct bad acoustics of a hall by simply installing speech enforcement systems.”

M. Kumaresan, Director, International Research Institute for the Deaf, said that more young minds should get inspired to take up research in fields like acoustics and sound engineering.

H.S. Paul, founder, Acoustical Foundation, urged parents and teachers to encourage children to attend more seminars and conferences on such fields. He also detailed the guidelines to the students for preparing and submitting their projects on acoustics in a competition scheduled by the foundation next month.