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High noise levels recorded at 12 junctions

Trinity Circle in Bangalore, one of the 12 junctions where the noise levels are high. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

Trinity Circle in Bangalore, one of the 12 junctions where the noise levels are high. — Photo: K. Gopinathan  

BANGALORE, DEC. 6. The steep increase in the number of vehicles in Bangalore has triggered an alarming rise in noise levels, beyond the acceptable limits prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). This was revealed in a recent investigative study on noise pollution levels at 12 intersections across six traffic zones.

At Richmond Circle, Rajajinagar Entrance Circle and City Market Circle, the study found that the average "Leq levels" (equivalent noise levels, the term commonly applied to exposure patterns of noise from multiple sources) were above 85 dB (decibels), qualifying these intersections as high noise prone areas. The circles were classified as commercial locations, where the CPCB-prescribed limit was 65 dB Leq during the day and 55 dB Leq at night.

An average Leq level of 80 to 83 dB was recorded at Trinity Circle, Sagar Theatre Junction, Yeshwantpur Circle, Navrang Circle, and Minerva Circle, which were all larger, with wider roads, compared with other intersections. The presence of huge trees helped moderate the noise levels.

Lowest noise levels

At N.R. Circle and South End Circle, the Leq levels were the lowest at 77 dB and 72 dB, respectively.

These intersections were located in residential areas, where the noise levels were generally low.

But the CPCB limits for residential areas were much lower at 55 dB during the day and 45 dB at night.

The high density of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, light motor vehicles and trucks, the study said, was a crucial factor that influenced the noise levels at Yeshwantpur Circle, Navrang Circle, Richmond Circle and Southend Circle.

The study found that the noise levels at traffic junctions surrounded by trees with large canopies were less.

This was one reason why it recommended maintenance of thick vegetation in commercial areas.

Causes

In commercial areas, the study found that discontinuity in passage increased the number of signal points, where vehicles were required to stop and start frequently.

This caused upsurges in noise levels. It was also noted that reckless driving, speeding, and frequent use of horns pushed noise levels beyond acceptable limits.

As measures to control noise levels, the study suggested that pressure-type horns be banned for buses and lorries; the maximum speed of vehicles be restricted; roads be free of obstructions; and public service agencies such as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. coordinated better.

The study also wanted immediate steps to minimise noise levels through legislation and steps to decongest traffic in areas where educational institutions and hospitals were situated.

The study team comprised the Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers chairman, M.N. Sreehari, C. Usha, Krishna Murthy and S.M. Shivanagendra.

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