Noise pollution as it is not fatal remains an ignored aspect of pollution in India. Dr TK Joshi Former Advisor, Occupational and Environmental Health and Chemical Safety, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GOI links noise to road rage and feels that the noise monitoring apparatus in India is very weak. “In the airports abroad one finds the runway staff wears ear mugs, in India use of these is largely ignored. Foreign airlines makes sure that the staff wears ear mugs in their own countries however in India many of them don’t bother” he says.
Dr Joshi, who is the Former Chairman of the National Committee on Bio Medical Waste Management set up by Central Pollution Control Board points out how the Supreme Courts directive to ensure that no noise occurs between 10 pm and 6 am is flaunted “Parties with loud music, marriage processions bursting of crackers all take place after 10 pm in complete violation o the Supreme Court directives”.
He highlights how even the hospital vicinity is not spared from noise “In front of Maulana Azad hospital the noise levels due to traffic is as high as 85 decimals. I have seen marriage processions going in front of the GB Pant hospital even post 11 pm at night this hospital by the way is famous for treating heart ailments.”
He rues that the habit of honking is prevalent in India “Across the world I have noticed people do not honk it is considered bad etiquette. Forget about the western World even in South East Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia I witnessed minimal honking. On my trip to Peru, a remote and backward country I could find minimum use of the horn, however here in India even at night hours people use the horn”
Dr Joshi who set up India’s first Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi said that the average age of onset of Presbycusis is going down “Presbycusis which is natural hearing loss due to ageing, its age of onset is going down in India. In the developed world the average age of its onset is 70 however in India it is around 55 years” he said.
Dr Joshi drew parallels between Road rage and noise pollution “When our body is subjected to noise it secretes more ad reline due to which probability of aggressive reactions goes up”.
He also delves on how noise pollution is a big occupational disorder “Globally noise pollution is the second biggest occupational health hazard after back problems. The worldwide average of noise in industries is 85 decimals whereas in India it is 90 decibels “. He explains that at a glance it may seem that the difference is only 5% however noise is something which has a sort of multiplier effect with each additional decimal increasing the discomfort manifold.
He urges the common people to be more proactive in order to keep noise pollution in check “Community noise is in the realm of the police hence if someone is disturbing you with loud noise you must complain to the police. The Police would stop them from doing so or confiscate their equipment”