Noise pollution or unwanted sound is yet another form of environmental disturbance. It comes in the form use of loud speakers and blowing horn unnecessarily in prohibited areas also. Sound pollution increases during festivals when people blast crackers, play loud music. Whether it is marriage, parties, pub, disc or place of worship, people normally flout rules set by the local administration and create nuisance in the area. Noise pollution takes place when there is either excessive amount of noise or an unpleasant sound that causes temporary disruption in the natural balance. This definition is usually applicable to sounds or noises that are unnatural in either their volume or their production.
Our environment is such that it has become difficult to escape noise. Roadway noise is the collective sound energy emanated from motor vehicles. In cities, motor vehicles sound contributes largely to the total societal noise pollution. A car can reach up to 85 decibels, while the noise levels at railway stations can reach up to an average of 110 decibels. Noise from airplanes constitutes an increasing serious problem in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Airport situated in the vicinity of population centres and the air planes pass over residential areas.
Most of the industries use big machines which are capable of producing large amount of noise. Apart from that, various equipments like compressors, generators, exhaust fans, grinding mills also participate in producing big noise. Noise (or sound) is measured in the units of decibels and is denoted by the dB. Noise which is more than 115 dB is tolerant. The industrial limit of sound in the industries must be 75 dB according to the World Health Organization.
In foreign countries, noise is recognized as a serious health hazard and sustained efforts are made to keep it in check, but not in India.
Noise pollution is dangerous for human lives. It affects the brain and prolonged exposure to noise may cause blood vessels to contract, sometimes resulting in hypertension. Constant exposure to loud levels of noise can easily result in the damage of our ear drums and loss of hearing. Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars and even in our homes can influence psychological health. High decibel noise can cause trouble and may not allow two people to communicate freely.
The decibel level of horns and use of functioning silencers should be verified. Law enforcement authorities and politicians need to recognize the ill effects of noise during festivals and by religious institutions. The industries must be built away from the residential areas and the legal laws must be established and observed to protect the humans from noise pollution. Awareness must be created among citizens about the ill-effects of noise pollution.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)