Noise pollution refers to the excessive, unwanted or disruptive sound that can negatively affect the environment and human health. Examples of noise pollution include traffic noise, aircraft noise, industrial noise, and construction noise. Concerts, fireworks, and other loud gatherings can also cause it. Prolonged exposure to noise pollution can lead to hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbance, and other health problems.
Unconditional Effects of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution can have a variety of negative effects on both the environment and human health. The different effects of noise pollution are categorized as auditory effects and non-auditory.
1. Auditory Effects
Many persons have the risk of deafness. These include auditory fatigue and deafness. Auditory fatigue appears in the 90 dB and may be associated with side effects such as whistling and buzzing in the ears. Deafness can be caused due to continuous noise exposure. These are the auditory effects of noise pollution. Temporary deafness occurs at 4000-6000 Hz. Permanent loss of hearing occurs at 100 dB Mumbai and Kolkata are the noisiest cities in the world.
2. Non-Auditory Effects
These are some non-auditory effects that we mentioned in the following section:
(i) Interference with Speech Communication
A noise of 50-60 dB commonly interferes with speech; the sound of warming (signal) may be misunderstood. It is one of the non-auditory effects of noise pollution.
Balanced persons express great annoyance at even low levels of noise as crowds, highways, radio, etc. The effects of noise pollution are ill temper, bickering, etc.
(iii) Loss in Working
There develop tiredness, and those doing mental work may deteriorate their efficiency or even complete loss of ability to work. It is due to the effects of noise pollution.
(iv) Physiological Disorders
Many physiological disorders develop due to an imbalance in the body’s functioning. These are neurosis, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, hepatic diseases, behavioral and emotional stress, increased sweating, giddiness, nausea, fatigue, etc. Physiological disorders are the effects of noise pollution. Noise also causes visual disturbance and reduces the depth and quality of sleep, thus affecting overall mental and physical health. Other effects are undesirable changes in respiration, blood circulation in the skin, and gastrointestinal activity. Noise pollution also causes the incidence of peptic ulcers.
Continuous noise causes an increase in cholesterol levels resulting in the constriction of blood vessels, making them prone to attack and strokes. These may be stillbirths and usually low-weight children born to mothers living near airports.
Supersonic airplanes create a shock wave called sonic boon, which produces a startling effect that can be more harmful than continuous noise. The sonic boom may spread in an area of 10 to 80 miles, and when it hits the ground, it damages windows, pans, and building structures. This may also fasten the human fetus heartbeat rate. Some of the important health hazards of noise are as follows:
What is the Current Condition of Noise Pollution in India?
In urban as well as rural areas, noise pollution is on the rise. Public meetings, festivals, marriage receptions, the sound of televisions, etc., have become louder. A study conducted in 2003 by the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, showed that the noise generated by crackers sold in the market was much higher than the prescribed levels. This was the case with almost all the brands.
The noise was more than the sound of aircraft and harmful to health. Another study made in 2002 showed that noise levels at three busy traffic junctions in Chennai were above the permissible limits prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Bureau of Indian Standards. Automobile horns were found to be a major source of the noise.
In the 1980s and 1990s, several court judgments in India restricted noise generation by industries, firecrackers, electric horns, etc. Finally, in 2000, the Indian government notified the Noise Regulations Rules under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986.
The rules regulate noise levels in industrial (75 db), commercial (65 db), and residential zones (55 db). They also establish silence zones within a radius of 100 m of schools, courts, hospitals, etc.
The rules specify that any authority could grant no permission to use a public address system in the open after 10.00 p.m. and before 6.00 a.m. Permission may be given for loudspeakers during day time, but the sound levels must be within limits prescribed in the rules. The rules also fix different noise levels for firecrackers and industrial activities.
Legitimate Technique to Control Noise Pollution
Following are the ways to control and reduce the noise menace.
1. At Source Control
This can be done by (i) designing and fabricating silencing devices in aircraft engines, automobiles, industrial machines, and home appliances and segregating the noisy machines.
2. Transmission Control
You can achieve this by covering the room walls with sound absorbers as acoustic tiles and constructing enclosures with industrial machinery.
3. To Protect Exposed Person
The workers exposed to noise can be provided with wearing devices such as ear plugs and ear muffs.
4. To Create Vegetation Cover
Plants absorb and dissipate sound energy and thus act as the buffer zone. Also, trees should be planted along highways, streets, and other places. Ashok, Neem, Tamarind, etc., are good for this purpose.
Certified Note on Noise Pollution through Law
Silence zones must be created near schools and hospitals, and laws may do the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers in public places. Adequate restrictions must be put on the unnecessary use of horns and vehicles plying without silencers. There are already laws in some countries as U.K. and U.S.A.
In India, the Motor Vehicles Act restricts trucks from using double sirens while passing through some localities. But this is not enough. In Delhi passing through some localities. But this is not enough. In Delhi and Mumbai, there are flights round-the-clock at the airport.
Restrictions may be put on aircraft flights at midnight. Delhi is closely following Mumbai in noise pollution, and if adequate steps are not taken to reduce the sound level, more than 50% of Delhi will be affected by 2000. In Delhi, areas affected most by vehicular noise pollution are, Daryaganj, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Subzi Mandi, Connaught Place, and Shahdara, where noise levels are 90 dB.
There is an Indian Penal Code that has some provisions to which resort can be made on the ground of nuisance. These are Sections 268 and 290. Fortunately, noise has now been included under Air Pollution in the Air Pollution Control Act.
The main part of routine life. The public must be aware and educated about noise nuisance through adequate news media, lectures, and other programs. The reason is that most of us do not consider noise as pollution, but as a movement against noise pollution is very weak in India.