Saturday, February 13, 2010

New tool to check noise

The city police will use the latest sound measurement devices in a move to prosecute those who cause noise pollution.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, C. H. Nagaraju, said the newly acquired hand-held decibel meters would help the police to accurately gauge the decibel level of sound emanating from loudspeakers and determine whether it was within the permissible limit sanctioned by law.

According to the law, amplified sound transmitted through loudspeakers should not be more than 55 decibels during day and 45 decibels during night. Loudspeakers should not be used between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, the laws are observed more in the breach.

Most sound system operators use the banned cone-shaped type of speakers by concealing the devices inside commonplace loudspeaker boxes.

Students’ public examinations coincide with the festival season in the district and they are among those most affected by noise pollution.

Deafening music is played round-the-clock in festival areas. Usually anti-social elements extort money from the public on the pretext of organising the festivities. For them, the best way to show that the money is well spent is to play ear-splitting music. Most people are reluctant to report noise pollution to the police fearing retribution from the bullies.

A residents’ association office-bearer said the police should be restrictive in issuing permits for using loudspeakers in public places. “The use of speakers for advertising should be prohibited. Those who play amplified music in public without the permission of the copyright holder should be booked. Those seeking sanction to use loudspeakers should be made to deposit at least Rs.2,000 for each speaker. If the norms are violated, the deposit could be forfeited from the offender,” he said.

Noise above 70 decibels slows the reflexes of motorists, particularly two-wheeler riders. Exploding of firecrackers on roadsides is a major reason for motor accidents.

K. Sadasivan, a public minded citizen, in his book on the ill-effects of sound pollution states that noise destroys efficiency, safety and health of citizens.

It aggravates the condition of those suffering from high blood pressure, coronary disease, ulcer, fatigue, insomnia, irritability and headache. Noise impedes concentration, learning and analysis. It also affects the health of pregnant women.

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