How to Control Noise pollution (Ways to reduce noise pollution)

The presence of high-intensity undesirable sound or noise in the atmosphere is called “noise pollution” that has extremely harmful effect on the environment.

We can take three kinds of measures to control noise pollution: preventive, curative and awareness-building measures.

Preventive Measures

This means that individuals and commercial entities should not take steps that harm the environment. This requires that people and businesses should comply with all the rules framed by the government relating to pollution control. In fact, they should come forward for the control of noise pollution created by humans.

Upgradation in motor engines and other high sound-producing machines, establishing industries away from residential or urban settlements, providing industrial workers with ear-plugs, periodical checking of the silencers of vehicles, ban on band, musical instruments, and loudspeakers are some important ways to reduce noise pollution.

Vehicles that cause more noise than the limit should be banned from plying on the main routes in residential areas. Motor engines and other machines that produce noise should be structured in a way that they produce less sound. The noise pollution produced by friction of trains can be reduced by building soundproof rail paths.

 

There are various strategies to curb roadway noise such as erecting sound barriers (noise barrier), limitation of vehicles speed, changes in the road surface, ban on heavy vehicles (heavy duty vehicles), traffic control measures that reduce the braking and acceleration, and change in tyre design for reducing vehicular noise.

An important factor in implementing these strategies is the computer model for roadway noise which is capable of defining local climate, weather (meteorology), conducting traffic operations and hypothetical mitigation in noise pollution. The cost of manufacturing can be reduced provided such measures are taken in the planning stage of the project.

The exposure of workers to industrial noise has been addressed since 1930 in India. These changes include industrial equipment and shock mounting assemblies and putting up physical barriers at the workplace.

Aircraft noise can be reduced to some extent by the design of quieter jet. The initiative for it was taken in the decade of 1970 and 1980 at global level. This strategy has led to limited but significant reduction in urban sound levels. Reconsideration in operations, such as changes in the (flight path) and day time use of runway has demonstrated benefits for residential populations near the airport. In 1970, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sponsored residential retrofit (insulation) programmes achieved success in reducing interior noise of thousands of residential homes across the United States.

Remedial measures

This means that human beings help in mitigating the damage to the environment due to noise pollution. If it is not possible to prevent pollution, at least remedial steps should be taken. Planting trees is an example of this initiative. Noise pollution in the surrounding environment can be reduced by afforestation as trees are good sound absorbers.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has stipulated noise standard norms for fireworks during festivals. According to its notification, firecrackers of more 125 dB (AI) or 145 dB sound level up to four meters from the point of detonation are prohibited.

The Supreme Court has given instructions that those bursting crackers after 10 pm during festivals and other functions will be strictly dealt with. As per its directives, fireworks of prescribed sound level can be burst till 10 pm but no one will be allowed to burst crackers till 6 am.

At a broader level,  the law prohibits any kind of noise pollution produced by scooter, car, bus horns,  DJ, loudspeaker, marriage band, or musical instruments played during public functions held in open space from 10 at night  until 6 in the morning. This is the period during which no one is allowed to produce any kind of noise that exceeds more than 75 decibels in sound (up to one metre from the source of sound).

There is need to strictly enforce these provisions in the law of the land. We need to put a stop to parties and religious functions that are held at high pitch all through the night, causing many to spend sleepless nights.  In fact, there is a provision to impose a fine of Rs one lakh or five years’ jail, or both, under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, and Section 290 and 291 of the IPC. Thus, the problem of noise pollution needs to be dealt with in right earnest. But if the people are determined they can force police action in such violations of the prescribed limits of sound and the time beyond which no noise is allowed to take place.

Awareness Building

This means people should be made aware about the causes of environmental pollution, so that they voluntarily come forward to protect the environment rather than harming it. For example, conducting awareness programmes on a vast scale to cover the length and breadth of the country. Nowadays, some commercial organisations and NGOs are taking up the responsibility of the development and maintenance of parks in urban areas which shows that more and more people are now environmentally conscious.

People of the country should display the determination to report any instance of the violations of the prescribed limits of sound and the time beyond which no noise can be tolerated. And, the law-enforcement agencies should act without any fear against all those wilfully producing noise pollution to the detriment of environment.

Conclusion

We have no other option but to take the threat of noise pollution in right earnest. The Central and state governments should launch massive awareness drives to make people aware about various ailments caused by noise pollution. Individuals can contribute in reduction of noise pollution by using low noise emitting machines and equipment. In case of high-sound producing machines, we can go for sound-proof buildings and equip the staff handling these machines with sound absorber ear devices. The authorities should see to it that industries and factories are installed away from cities or human/animal habitat. A simple habit that we can follow is desisting from pressing the horn of our vehicles too frequently. Let’s also dedicate ourselves towards the plantation of more and more trees along the roads should as trees serve as good sound absorbers.