Saturday, March 23, 2013

Indian Updates: Major UP towns in grip of noise pollution, says government (14 Mar 2013)

Major UP towns in grip of noise pollution, says government

By Arvind Singh Bisht, TNN | Mar 14, 2013, 09.25 PM IST

LUCKNOW: Noise pollution is far more than its permissible limit in all major eleven towns of UP, making life miserable for citizens in commercial areas, industrial regions and even residential zones.

Admitting this in a written reply to a question asked by Akhilesh Pratap Singh of Congress in the Assembly on Thursday, the government said that studies conducted by the UP pollution control board revealed that the most affected towns were as : Allahabad, Rae Bareilly, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad, Agra, Jhansi, Meerut,Mathura and Lucknow.

The noise pollution is the release of unwanted sound into the environment. It disturbs life and affects the health conditions of the people adversely. It is measured in the units of decibels. The noise, which is more than 115 dB, is tolerant.

However, the studies have found that in none of the said areas thenoise levels were within the permissible limits. The recommended noise level is 55dB and in many areas in industrial zones the noise levels touch 90-100decibels. In commercial areas the levels rise above 70-80 decibels habitually and in residential areas it ranges between 60 and 75.

In a city environment, noise pollution has many negative consequences. It can play havoc with the nervous system affecting the physical and psychological behavior of the individuals. It may cause nausea, vomiting, pain, hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, sleep disturbance, restlessness, epression, fatigue, allergy, mental stress and annoyance. Cochlea is the auditory portion of the inner ear. It sends communication to the brain by the small hair cells. Intense sounds damage these cells, and sometimes even beyond recovery, due to prolonged exposure to louder noise.

Apart from this, studies have also found that noise pollution also leads to lower birth weights for newborns and higher rates of disobedience in young schoolchildren. A National Institutes of Health report found that low-level noise can lead to "elevated blood pressure, loss of sleep, increased heart rate, cardiovascular constriction, labored breathing and changes in brain chemistry. These can have long-term effects that hamper daily living, social interaction and mental health.

Although the question went without any discussion, the government in its reply underlined a slew of measures to combat the problem. They include a ban on the use of loudspeaker between 10 p.m and 6 a.m, sensitization of people about this problem and checking the use of pressure horns though a sustained drive.

In another issue related to the Ganga Express Highways, the government said that it had sought fresh agreement from its developer- the Jai Prakash Associates. However, the government refused to specify whether it was keen to pursue the project, which was initiated by the previous Mayawati government. The project envisages eight lanes express highway from Noida to Balliya covering around 1000 kms.

The issue was taken up in the Assembly when Congress member Akhilesh Pratap Singh asked the ruling Samajwadi Party, which had opposed the project in previous BSP regime, whether it would initiate the project.

Initially, minister Shiv Pratap Yadav said the matter was sub judice and environment clearance was needed for the project, but later said the JP group has been asked for a fresh agreement. "We have sought a fresh agreement from JP group," the minister said.

When he was asked by Singh to reply in 'yes or no' terms on whether the government was keen to start the project, the minister said anything could be further said only after going through the new agreement after the government gets it.

JP associates was selected as the developer of the highway by Mayawati regime but the High Court in its order said land acquisition for the project should be done only after environmental clearance, which the project did not have.


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