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Festival of lights a tad quieter?

Deepa Kurup
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Bangalore among four Indian cities where noise levels have declined or stabilised: CPCB

Festival cheer notwithstanding, this Deepavali may bring some good news after all. Those who’ve been advocating a cracker-free festival will find these statistics heartening: ambient noise levels measured over 24 hours during the Deepavali weekend has shown a dip in three of the eight monitoring stations. Two other stations clocked an increase in noise levels, while the others remained more or less unchanged.

At the national level, statistics released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) show that noise pollution levels have been decreasing in 35 locations in seven cities. Among those where noise levels either declined or did not show an increase are Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The CPCB had conducted real-time continuous monitoring of ambient noise, and this data was compared with previous years’.

In Bangalore, the CPCB report reveals data for five monitoring stations. Among these, monitoring stations in Marathahalli and Nisarga Bhavan (in Basaveshwaranagar) have shown an increase in ambient noise levels. Both areas classified as residential recorded noise levels that exceeded maximum permissible levels by around five decibels. While Marathahalli clocked an excess of 15 per cent noise, Basaveshwaranagar monitoring station recorded an increase of 10 per cent.

Three other monitoring stations located in a residential (BTM Layout), commercial (Parisara Bhavan-Church Street) and industrial area (Peenya) each registered a decline in noise levels. None of these reductions were drastic enough, yet, the fact that there was no increase has been hailed as a “positive development” by the record.

Reacting to these numbers, a State pollution official said it was heartening that noise levels are not on the rise. Analysing the numbers, he said that while it will be natural to think that cracker noise is on the increase in residential areas, that BTM Layout has not shown an increase indicates that cracker noise may as well be on the decline. “It may have to do with the kind of crackers people are bursting. We hope it also reflects an increase in awareness.”

Ambient air quality level data is yet to be released.

Deadline violated

Meanwhile, across the city, the 10 p.m. deadline on bursting crackers was violated. When contacted, a senior police official said that no complaint had been registered on the matter.

The KSPCB had directed police officials to crack down on those who burst crackers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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