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This Ganesha festivity in Mumbai was noisiest in seven years

MUMBAI: The city celebrated its noisiestGaneshotsav in seven years with decibel levels on the final immersion day peaking to 123db in Worli Naka, way above the permissible limit of 45db for residential areas at night. Noise activists, who have been mapping decibel levels over the years, said last year's noisiest stretch was Girgaum Chowpatty at 121db. And this year's worst affected areas included Worli, Lamington Road, Prabhadevi, Pedder Road and Juhu Tara Road. 


The decibel levels were recorded by Awaaz Foundation. The noise, says the report released by the Foundation, emanated from cymbals and drums along with loudspeakers and DJ music. The processions, in most likelihood, also violated noise rules at various locations along the way, including Prabhadevi. 

Very high noise levels—ranging between 85db and 121db —were recorded at Lamington Road. Opera House stood third in the list of places with the noisiest processions at 95-119 db. Activists said though there seemed to be fewer processions this year, the noise levels, aided by technology, rose higher than the previous years. 

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), in its report on noise levels on the fifth day of immersion, recorded the highest noise level at 89.5dB on S V Road, Bandra, and the lowest at 54.8dB near Milan Subway. 

The highest noise level in the state was recorded at Krishna Chowk, Pune. In all, the MPCB recorded noise levels at 89 spots across the state, 25 of which were in Mumbai. 

"In terms of numbers, there appeared to be fewer processions . Also, the police implemented the deadline on celebrations very well. However, the noise levels didn't come down," said Sumaira Abdulali, convener , Awaaz Foundation. "It should be easier to control community festivals such as Ganeshotsav as there are core organizers compared with a more individual festival like Diwali. Noise levels , though, have not reduced." 

Activists said there were several noise-related complaints from residents of Prabhadevi, Parel, Pedder Road, Juhu Tara Road, among others. "People equate celebration with noise. 

To add to it, political leaders, actors and others endorse the idea. Hence, there hasn't been much change despite better awareness ," said Mahesh Bedekar, a Thane-based noise activist. 

Studies have indicated loud noise raises heart attack risk by 12%. Cardiovascular surgeon Dr Pawan Kumar said, "Loud noise causes release of stress hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate." 

The Times of India (20-09-2013)