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NGO HEARING - `Make noise over decibel levels'

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi May 28 2017

Experts from NGO, Toxic Link, on Friday held a public hearing on noise pollution. While norms and standards for both silence zone and residential areas have been set, they said that most people were unaware of the decibel standards.The silence zones permit 50 decibels (dB) during the day and 45 decibels at night.Similarly , in the residential areas 55 decibels are permitted during the day and 45 decibels at night. “People are unaware that they can complain if the levels are 10 decibels above the permissible limit. Not just implementation, but public awareness is also lacking, which allows violators to get away easily ,“ said Dr K K Agarwal, national president, Indian Medical Association.He added that spending long durations around noisy areas could lead to high blood pressure, stress, heart problems and insomnia. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards state that an individual can only be allowed to work for a maxi mum of eight hours when the surrounding decibel levels are 90 dB, two hours when it's 100dB and an hour when the levels are 105dB. “This shows that even a few hours in a loud environment can have serious impacts,“ said Dr D K Aswal, director CSIR-national physical laboratory.Campaigners believe that a city-wide movement was required where individuals would indulge and ta ke steps starting with a “nohonking“ habit. Ravi Kalra, founder of the Earth Saviour's Foundation and also known as the “no-honking man of India“ said that the people could make an effort to not honk when not essential. “Now, I don't honk when I drive. It is a conscious decision and if we all start taking such steps, then noise levels will go down considerably ,“ he said. Satish Sinha, associate director Toxics Link, echoes the view. People need to acknowledge noise as a pollutant and only then improvements can be made, he said. 

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