UPSC MAINS 2019: Noise pollution serious crime: NGT

Noise pollution serious crime - NGT


Topic: Noise pollution serious crime: NGT

Topic in Syllabus: General Studies Paper 3 : Ecology & Environment

Noise pollution serious crime - NGT



Noise pollution beyond prescribed norms is a serious punishable crime, the NGT has said and asked the police to map such hotspots as also put in place a surveillance mechanism for taking strict action against violators.


More about on news:

  • A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the Police Commissioner to monitor the implementing officers so as to safeguard the right of citizens and e-mail the report on within a month.
  • The green panel said citizens have Constitutional right to peaceful environment and noise pollution beyond prescribed norms is serious punishable crime for which adequate preventive and remedial action is needed.
  • There has to be a surveillance and monitoring mechanism, coordination with the educational institutions and resident welfare associations at regular intervals
  • The NGT said it had an interaction with the officers concerned in an attempt to advise them on understanding their responsibility and accountability to law and their duty to society.


NGT observations:

  • Legal provisions to prosecute the noisemakers already exist.
  • Section 2 (a) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, includes noise in the definition of pollutants.
  • Also, noise pollution control rules were framed in 2000 under the amended and updated Environment Protection Act, 1996.
  • It specifies the ambient standards for different places in respect of permissible noise.
  • But unfortunately, these have remained only on paper.
  • Though noise monitoring mechanisms were established in a few cities, these were hardly ever put to any gainful use.


Noise pollution:

  • Noise pollution is a serious threat to the quality of man’s environment.
  • Noise, by definition, is over-loud or disturbing sound.Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB).
  • It is a unit for expressing the relative intensity of sound on a scale from 0 to 130.
  • Noise is unwanted sound and has become a part of urban life and industrial centres in this century.
  • Noise pollution may come from loudspeakers, factories, aeroplanes, moving trains, construction activity or even a radio.
  • Noise level of 80 decibels or more for more than 8 hours a day increases tension and changes in breathing patterns.
  • Continued exposure to high levels of noise results in fatigue, hearing loss or even total loss of hearing, changes in blood circulation, changes in breathing, etc.
  • Noise pollution above 120 decibels can cause many adverse biochemical changes.Cholesterol levels in the blood and white cell counts increase, besides causing hypertension.


Sources of Noise:

The major sources of noise are

  • Use of Television and Radio
  • Railways
  • Use of loudspeakers
  • Industrial activities
  • Aircraft


Psychological and physical effects of noise at different decibel levels (db)

Noise Level in decibelsSourceEffects
135Pneumatic drillPainful
110Rock bandDiscomfort
88Industry / city trafficHearing impairment on prolonged exposure
80Alarm clockAnnoying
65Average city trafficIntrusive


Standards and guidelines:

Summary of recommended noise exposure limit (World Health Organization – 1980)

EnvironmentRecommended Maximum levelEffects
Indoor / Domestic Night35dBIncreased awakening at higher levels
Indoor / Domestic Day45dBSpeech communication deteriorates at higher levels
Community / Urban Night45dBDifficulty in falling asleep at higher level
Community / Urban Day55dBAnnoyance increases at higher levels
Industrial / Occupational75dBPredictable risk of hearing impairment at higher levels


Noise standards (as notified in Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986):

The Central Pollution Control Board constituted a Committee on Noise Pollution Control.The Committee recommended noise standards for ambient air and for automobiles, domestic appliances and construction equipments, which were latern otified in Environment (Protection) Rules,1986 as given below:

CodeCategory of AreaLimits in dB(A)
Day       Night
AIndustrial area75         70
BCommercial area65        55
CResidential area55         45
DSilence Zone50         40
  • Day time is reckoned in between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Night time is reckoned in between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Silence zone is referred as areas upto 100 meters around such premises as hospitals,educational institutions and courts.The Silence zones are to be declared by the Competent Authority. Use of vehicular horns,loudspeakers and bursting of crackers shall be banned in these zones.
  • Mixed categories of areas should be declared as one of the four above mentioned categories by the Competent Authority and the corresponding standards shall apply.


Causes of Noise Pollution:

  • Industrialization: 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. Therefore, you must have seen workers in these factories and industries wearing ear plugs to minimize the effect of noise.
  • Poor Urban Planning: In most of the developing countries, poor urban planning also play a vital role. Congested houses, large families sharing small space, fight over parking, frequent fights over basic amenities leads to noise pollution which may disrupt the environment of society.
  • Social Events: Noise is at its peak in most of the social events. 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. People play songs on full volume and dance till midnight which makes the condition of people living nearby pretty worse. In markets, you can see people selling clothes via making loud noise to attract the attention of people.
  • Transportation: Large number of vehicles on roads, aeroplanes flying over houses, underground trains produce heavy noise and people get it difficult to get accustomed to that. The high noise leads to a situation wherein a normal person lose the ability to hear properly.
  • Construction Activities: Under construction activities like mining, construction of bridges, dams, buildings, stations, roads, flyovers take place in almost every part of the world. These construction activities take place every day as we need more buildings, bridges to accommodate more people and to reduce traffic congestion. The down point is that these construction equipments are too noisy.
  • Household Chores: We people are surrounded by gadgets and use them extensively in our daily life. Gadgets like TV, mobile, mixer grinder, pressure cooker, vacuum cleaners , washing machine and dryer, cooler, air conditioners are minor contributors to the amount of noise that is produced but it affects the quality of life of your neighborhood in a bad way.


Effects of Noise Pollution:

  • Hearing Problems: Any unwanted sound that our ears have not been built to filter can cause problems within the body. Our ears can take in a certain range of sounds without getting damaged. Man made noises such as jackhammers, horns, machinery, airplanes and even vehicles can be too loud for our hearing range. Constant exposure to loud levels of noise can easily result in the damage of our ear drums and loss of hearing. It also reduces our sensitivity to sounds that our ears pick up unconsciously to regulate our body’s rhythm.
  • Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars and even in our homes can influence psychological health. Studies show that the occurrence of aggressive behavior, disturbance of sleep, constant stress, fatigue and hypertension can be linked to excessive noise levels. These in turn can cause more severe and chronic health issues later in life.
  • Sleeping Disorders: Loud noise can certainly hamper your sleeping pattern and may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations. Without a good night sleep, it may lead to problems related to fatigue and your performance may go down in office as well as at home. It is therefore recommended to take a sound sleep to give your body proper rest.
  • Cardiovascular Issues: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heart beat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow. Bringing them to a manageable level depends on our understanding noise pollution and how we tackle it.
  • Trouble Communicating: High decibel noise can put trouble and may not allow two people to communicate freely. This may lead to misunderstanding and you may get difficult understanding the other person. Constant sharp noise can give you severe headache and disturb your emotional balance.
  • Effect on Wildlife: Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound. Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it. The ill effects of excessive noise begin at home. Pets react more aggressively in households where there is constant noise.


Solutions of Noise Pollution:

  • Public awareness is essential for prevent and control the noise pollution. Not only the government but we should also be aware of the harmful consequences of noise pollution.
  • Which cause to the certain deafness people should aware of that excessive noise
  • Such transport terminals, Industries, Airport, and railway terminals sight should be far from living spaces.
  • Avoid the maximum uses of sound processing instruments and make proper regulations for the utilize of a loudspeaker and other devices.
  • Construction of some soundproof machines in industrial and manufacturing installation must be encouraged. Also necessary for residential building.
  • Anti-pollution laws should make strict rules and regulation which enacted and forced.
  • Ban all type of fire crackers which is very harmful for pollution and replace with the bulb horns.
  • In the law of community must have a real and silence zone like Schools, Colleges, and Hospitals.
  • Make in the residential area the plantation (Trees) it absorbs the sound and reduces the pollution and also healthier for breathing of body.
  • A green-belt effectively reduces the noise.
  • A 20 foot wide plantation inside the compound protects the house from the noise of vehicular traffic.
  • Decibel metres should be installed along highways and in factories to check and control the intensity of noise pollution.
  • Specific legislation and regulations should be proposed for designing and operation of machines to include vibration control, sound-proof cabins and sound-absorbing materials.
  • In metropolitan areas a green belt of vegetation and open spaces in general may have a great value in noise control as in air purification. It has been seen that plants are efficient absorbers of noise, especially noise of higher frequency. Plants can also absorb aeroplane noise, so a green belt should be planted around airports.


Sample Question:

Discuss the risks with noise pollution and recommend the possible solutions for addressing noise pollution?

Noise Pollution Serious Crime - Info graphics - Mar20th