UNEP Report on Noise Pollution

GS Paper – 3, Conservation Environmental Pollution & Degradation.

Why in the news?

  • The inclusion of a single city, Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, in the recently issued United Nations Environment Programme study titled Annual Frontiers Report 2022, has sparked controversy.
  • The Frontiers report identifies and proposes solutions to three environmental issues: urban noise pollution, wildfires, and phenological shifts, all of which require attention and action from governments and the general public to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.

What caused the uproar?

The study gathers research on noise levels in various locations across the world and depicts a subset of 61 cities as well as the range of dB (decibel) levels that have been recorded.

  • The five Indian cities included in this list are Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Asansol, and Moradabad.
  • Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, was observed to have a dB range ranging from 29 to 114.
  • It was the second-noisiest city on the list, with a maximum rating of 114.
  • While road traffic, industry, and high population density are well-known variables linked with high dB levels, the inclusion of Moradabad was surprising because previous research had never revealed that it was an especially loud city.
  • The first was Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a high of 119 decibels.

Why are noise measurements important?

Comply with the WHO Guidelines:

The most recent World Health Organization (WHO) standards, published in 2018, established a health-protective threshold for road traffic noise levels of 53 decibels (dB).

Public Health Consequences:

  • The Frontiers investigation assembled a slew of information, including noise’s negative impacts on public health, which vary from moderate and transitory discomfort to severe and persistent physical damage.
  • According to estimates, 22 million and 6.5 million individuals in Europe suffer from chronic noise irritation and sleep disruption, respectively.
  • Noise-induced sleep disruption is especially dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, and shift workers.
  • Because sleep is required for hormone control and cardiovascular function, noise-induced awakenings can generate a variety of physiological and psychological stress reactions.
  • Exposure to traffic noise increases the chance of developing cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses such as high blood pressure, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Long-term exposure to ambient noise causes 48,000 new instances of ischemic heart disease and 12,000 premature deaths in Europe per year.

What is India doing to combat noise pollution?

  1. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is tasked with monitoring noise levels, establishing guidelines, and ensuring that sources of excessive noise are managed through its state units.
  2. The agency has a manual monitoring system in place, with sensors put in large cities, and only a few cities have the ability to detect noise levels in real time.

What are the laws in India concerning noise pollution?

  • Noise pollution is governed by the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
  • Previously, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 addressed noise pollution and its causes.
  • The Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 also include noise standards for motor vehicles, air conditioners, refrigerators, diesel generators, and some types of construction equipment.
  • Under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981, noise from industry is controlled by State Pollution Control Boards / Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs / PCCs) for states / Union territories.


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