Noise pollution is a major issue in today’s urban areas. From factories to vehicles, from machinery to daily equipment, everything produces a noise that is having a significant impact on the ambient environment as well as the health and well being of humans.
In India, an added problem is that Indians are naturally a very noisy group of people. Every occasion, big or small, is celebrated with a lot of fanfare and noise. If you don’t believe me (my non-Indian readers), please YouTube Indian weddings for more on this.
Recognizing the harmful effects of noise, the Indian government included measures to abate noise pollution under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Noise pollution was one of the categories being addressed under this Act. However, in the late 1990’s, the government decided to come out with a separate legislation solely focusing on noise pollution. Thus was born, Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
Under this Act, the legislation has divided all areas into 4 categories viz.
- Industrial Areas (A)
- Commercial Areas (B)
- Residential Areas (C)
- Silence Zones (D)
Each of these areas have an ambient air quality standard (AAQS) specified for day (6 AM to 10 PM) and night (10 PM to 6 AM) times. The standards are as follows-
The legislation also specifies the following-
- The State Government has the authority to designate different areas under different categories or “area codes”.
- The authority to take decisions pertaining to the implementation of these rules is to be designated by the Central government, and can be the District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, etc.
- It is mandatory that an area of 100 meters around hospitals, educational institutions and courts be designated as silence zones.
- These rules shall always be taken into consideration before the construction of any project.
Under this Act, the use of loudspeakers, megaphones, and any other form of public address system has been regulated. They shall not be allowed to function in public after 10 PM and till 6 AM. Violation of this can result in a penalty, under provisions of this Act. The authority given the responsibility of upholding this Act can take action and order the prohibition of the use of any of these articles if he/she receives a complaint. Non-compliance after the issue of this order, can result in imprisonment.
Folks, noise has been an underrated form of pollution for a long time, but with the advent of this Act, due importance has been given to it. Now that you know, let’s try and quiet down, shall we?