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Monday, March 1, 2010

Noise Pollution: sources, consequences, prevention and control

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Once when I was sleeping in my bedroom I suddenly woke up at night and annoyed with the high pitched sound that disturbed me badly I angrily screamed,
 “Where is this noise coming from?”
“... From the house next side of the road, his daughter is playing her T.V.” my daughter informed me.
Yes, viewing T.V. and playing T.V. are two different acts people do. Some play music system to hear songs etc of their choice while others play music systems to force the people of the residential colony to hear songs or sounds of their own choice while they remain busy doing some other work except hearing the sound they allow their music player to play.
In the main market in Ranchi, there is a school surrounded by roads from all the sides. The population inhabiting the main market area around the school comprises different sections of people. During most of the days of the week some screaming loud speaker with a procession of ladies and men adorned in specific clothes passes on through any one of the road and forces teachers in different classrooms to relax and peep out of the windows of their classrooms to see what was happening on the road.
Everyday, if the peon of the school remains late in ringing the fourth bell, the students sitting in their classrooms are made to know the time of the bell for interval as a man in the mosque nearby school stats calling the almighty. It always happens to be good and pleasant for both the students and teachers but the Bhojpuri songs played at the tea shop near the school on the other side of the road often makes both the students and their teachers ashamed. For the tea-stall owner and for some others on the road, the sound of Bhojpuri songs played by the music system placed at the shop may have some value but for teachers and students, and of course for some young ladies moving through the road it may only have something more than just  the eulav. Now read the text ahead.
Sound without value is called as noise. The Noise Pollution can be defined as the unwanted sound which gets dumped into the atmosphere without taking care of any adverse effect that may be produced by it. It is the sound which is undesired by the recipient. The most dangerous part of air pollution is Noise Pollution. Since, sound needs the medium of air, the noise pollution can also be taken up with the air pollution.

Pressure horns of cars and other vehicles, noise produced through loud speakers during social and religious functions, noise produced by heavy machines, irresponsible practice of hearing high pitched sound of music systems, televisions etc. are some remarkable sources of noise pollution.

The popular unit of sound measurement is decibel (dB) which is the tenth part of a Bell. This unit has been named after Sir Alexander Graham Bell. The human ear is sensitive to sound from 0 to 180 dB. However, the sound beyond 80 dB is harmful and the threshold for pain, tissue damage, and potential loss of hearing in humans is 120 decibels. Decibel (dB) is a ratio expressed as the logarithmic scale relative to the pressure level of a reference sound. It is the tenth part of the largest unit Bel. The instrument used to measure intensity of sound is called as Decibel meter.

Noise interferes with communication, relaxation, leisure, heartbeat, eardrum and mental conditions. It is very harmful to sick persons and students who remain on their studies. Hence, noise is considered as serious pollutant which spreads through air.

Human ear is capable of hearing sound of varying frequencies and intensities. However, sound or noise of 115 to 180 dB is harmful and sometimes fatal to human beings. There are people who cannot tolerate sound of even the intensity of 85 dB whereas there are people who can tolerate the sound of the intensity of even up to 115 dB. After all, the sound of the intensity above 145 dB is painful and damaging to every one.

Impacts of noise pollution

It causes repeated interference with sleep and noisy conditions have very harmful impacts on the mental conditions of the people.
(i)                 Continuous exposure to noise levels above 100 dB causes deafness and mental tensions.

(ii)               High pitched sound interferes with conversations of people,

(iii)             Noise pollution reduces work efficiencies of people,

(iv)             It causes considerable damage to mental and physical health of the people. It causes cardio vascular problems like heart diseases and high blood pressure,

(v)               It causes social conflicts at home and at work place.

The Noise Pollution can be prevented and Controlled by several important practices. However, the control of noise pollution is not an easy task. At community level, it can be controlled by applying civic sense by the polluters themselves. The district administration and the State Pollution Control Boards fix the range of intensity of sound produced by someone or by an industry through legal ways. We can avoid noise pollution by sound proofing or by insulating our houses. The following table details the different types and ranges of sound-

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