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Noise pollution rises in two areas marked as ‘Silence Zones’ in Bengaluru

Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (Nimhans) and RVCE, Mysuru Road have been reported as sensitive areas.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 20, 2019, 11.52 AM IST
Two locations have reported sound levels 10-15 decibels higher on an average than the prescribed limits.
Bengaluru: Of the 10 locations in Bengaluru city where the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has been continuously monitoring ambient noise level, only two areas reported decibel (dB) levels that were within limits last year. Interestingly, both these locations are industrial areas: Whitefield and Peenya.

But the two areas categorised as “sensitive” — Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (Nimhans) and RVCE, Mysuru Road — have reported an increase in noise pollution.

These two locations have reported sound levels 10-15 decibels higher on an average than the prescribed limits. In fact, the noise levels are higher at night when the allowed noise limit is less than the daytime limit.

The KSPCB monitors ambient noise at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health; RVCE; TERI office, Domlur; BTM Layout; KSPCB office, SG Halli; KSPCB office, Church Street; Kadubeesanahalli; Yeshwanthpur police station; near ITPL Whitefield, and at Peenya Industrial Area.

The locations are divided into four categories: industrial, commercial, residential and silence zone. Nimhans and RVCE are silence zones by virtue of being a hospital and an educational institution, respectively. The permitted decibel limit for locations in this category is 50-75. The decibel limit for an industrial area is 75 dB; it is 55 for a residential area and 65 for a commercial area.

The sensitive Nimhans area has also witnessed the highest increase (30-35%) in decibel level compared to other stations, followed by BTM Layout — a residential area — which has registered a 20% increase in noise pollution.

The analysis has been done based on data available from April 2018 to January 2019. The KSPCB is yet to verify and update the data for February to May. KSPCB officials attribute the rise in noise pollution in sensitive zones to honking of vehicles. “The traffic police and the departments concerned should take strict measures to reduce noise pollution near hospitals and educational institutions. The noise levels are only increasing in silence zones,” said H Lokeshwari, senior scientific officer at KSPCB.

With the attention mostly on air pollution, noise pollution is yet to gain the importance it should. There has also been a demand to increase the number of monitoring stations. “In the last budget, the state government gave budgetary allocation for installing noise monitoring stations in 10 cities in Karnataka. We will submit a proposal for more number of stations for Bengaluru in the coming Budget,” the scientific officer said.

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