Mumbai Ganpati immersion: Noise levels highest in last three years, shows NGO data

Sanjana Bhalerao
Activists clean Ganesh Ghat on Friday, a day after Anant Chaturdashi (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

ON THE last day of Ganesh immersion on Thursday, the noise levels allegedly touched 121.3 decibels (dB) near the Opera House on Grant Road, the highest in the last three years, NGO Awaaz Foundation claimed on Friday.

According to norms, noise levels in silence zones cannot exceed 50 dB during the day and 40 dB after 10 pm. In residential areas, the levels are set at 55 dB during the day and 45 dB after 10 pm, while in commercial zones, the levels are capped at 65 dB during the day and 55 dB after 10 pm.

Awaaz Foundation, which advocates against noise pollution in the city, recorded noise levels on the 10th day of immersion of Ganpati idols. It claimed that while processions using DJ, drums, metal cylinders were the loudest at the Opera House junction, the area around SV Road in Santacruz West where banjo, drums and firecrackers were used was the second noisiest with the decibel level at 120.2 dB.

An idol being immersed. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

In 2013, the NGO had recorded maximum noise levels 123.3 dB at Worli Naka, which had dropped to a maximum of 114 dB at Juhu in 2014 on Anand Chaturdashi. While in 2015, the noise levels had touched 123.7 dB, the following year, it had dropped to 116.4 dB, followed by 119.8 dB and 113.9 dB in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Sumaira Abdulali, the convener of the NGO, said, This year, DJs were not used, except for one procession at Opera House. Bigger generators on trucks were also absent. When the organisers were shown the recorded noise levels, they reduced the same at many instances. While the noise level was high this year, the number of processions and defaulters were less. She added that the main source of noise is the metal cylinders.

Awaaz Foundation is the only NGO or organisation that records noise levels on such occasions. The police, this year, have recorded the noise levels, but are yet to release a report.

Over the last five years, police, accompanied by social activists, have been measuring noise levels from loudspeakers at mandals. In line with Bombay High Court orders, criminal cases are filed every year under the Environment Protection Act against mandals found violating noise rules. Last year, after the HC banned the use of sound systems and DJs, police registered 202 complaints of noise pollution against mandals.