Immersion Day 5 is more than an earful
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Traditional instruments such as drums took noise levels on Sunday — the fifth day of immersion — to 115 decibels (dB), the highest recorded during the Ganpati festival since 2003, said activists.
In a controversial decision, the state government allowed the use of traditional instruments beyond midnight on four days of the Ganpati festival this year. This, activists claim, violates noise rules and orders of the Bombay High Court as well as the Supreme Court. "Simultaneous and continuous beating of drums at times resulted in more noise than loudspeakers," said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, who recorded the noise levels on Sunday.
According to Abdulali, the highest levels (115 dB) were recorded near Sena Bhawan between 8 pm and 8.30 pm. The Opera House Junction too recorded the same levels due to drums, loudspeakers and an occasional DJ between 9.15 pm and 11.20 pm. Noise levels were above 90 dB in places such as Matunga, Haji Ali and Worli Naka. Loudspeakers were on beyond midnight in Lalbaug, Parel, Sion, Mahim and Bandra. The noise limit for residential areas during the day (6 am to 10 pm) is 55 dB and for commercial areas is 65 dB. At night (10 pm to 6 am), it is 45 dB and 55 dB for residential and commercial areas respectively.
The noise inconvenienced residents in areas around immersion points and along procession routes. "I started recording noise levels at festivals in 2003. It was the first time that I experienced temporary loss of hearing. Infants were being exposed to the same noise and a horse pulling a carriage panicked, causing a minor disturbance," Abdulali said.
Activists said the permission for traditional instruments to be played beyond midnight should be revoked immediately. "I have written to the CM in this regard," said Abdulali.
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