The editorial “Cutting noise” (Jan. 27) is a refreshing and timely reminder of the grave crisis facing the nation on account of noise pollution. Noise from vehicular traffic, loudspeakers, television, household equipment and kitchen appliances disrupts human activity and results in fatigue and stress. Deafness, blood pressure and mental illnesses are on the increase. Animals and vegetation are also susceptible to the harmful effects of noise.
The number of cars and motorcycles on the roads has increased to alarming levels. Economic progress has raised the living standard of a section, and all of us are paying for it in terms of a decline in the quality of life. The utter disregard of our policymakers and opinion makers to noise pollution is surprising and worrisome. It is the flooding of the market with private vehicles by the government through its economic-growth-at-any-cost agenda that is primarily responsible for the high level of pollution.
The effect of noise pollution is visible in our daily lives. Fire crackers, aircraft, vehicles, construction equipment, and jarring music — all these contribute to noise pollution. Although we seem to adjust to the noise by ignoring it, the body responds with tension. Anyone who wishes to live in peace, comfort and quiet within his house has a right to do so.
The law has treated noise pollution as a nuisance rather than a serious environmental problem. The legal definition of noise emission does not include rail and aircraft noise. Prevention and law-enforcement do not exist at all in some towns and cities. Loud-speakers have become indispensable instruments of effective public speech. Attempts to restrict such liberties must be justified.
K. Suresh Babu,
The emphasis on creating greater awareness on the effects of noise is apt and timely. Two factors need special elaboration: First, the recognition that exposure to high, intense noise leads to hearing impairment, which is irreversible. Second, the effects of noise on physiological and mental processes manifest without our consciousness. You may forget noise, your body never will.
Noise pollution is on the increase despite several campaigns by the government to check the rising levels. Buses, tractors, motorcycles, etc., produce a lot of noise. Adding to the woes is the constant honking by four-wheeler drivers. Senior citizens and patients are the worst sufferers.
The high decibel levels in public meetings and music during marriage receptions are indeed disturbing. The observation that prolonged exposure to noise leads to hypertension is worth noting. Loud communications beat the very purpose of communication. They amount to an emotional attack on the listener.