Report of assessment of Noise Pollution survey in Kolkata during Kali puja & Diwali Festivals- 2005 Introduction: The use of loudspeakers is regulated in terms of the Rules under the Environment Protection Act (1986) as well as the orders of the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court. The Police is empowered to enforce these rules and the orders. While the legal restrictions are mostly known by and large, special vigilance becomes necessary during festivals such as the Durga Puja, Kali Puja & Diwali. To have a clear idea about the increase of ambient noise level in residential areas in the city of Calcutta and other district town during the festivals, the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) undertook a noise monitoring survey during those days in the year 2005 as in previous years. Noise Pollution Survey procedure: Firecrackers generate instantaneous impulsive noise, which when measured in free field condition in impulsive mode, gives peak sound pressure level. It is quite obvious that a number of crackers when bursting serially can easily form a band of continuous noise in the presence of reflecting surfaces. The reverberation of sound wave due to repeated reflection in the surfaces prolongs the time interval of prevailing sound intensity. The continuous band of noise, thus formed, definitely affects the ambient level in close proximity. The monitoring was conducted at the twenty select locations in Kolkata and Howrah cities:eleven earlier locations such as Salt Lake, Lake Town, Kankurgachi, Beliaghta, Behala, Minto Park, Burrabazar, Jadavpur, rabindra Sarani, Talapark and Howrah Maidan, and nine new locations such as Howrah-Kadamtala, Howrah-mandirtala, Baranagar, Nagerbazer, Baguihatijangra, Kasba-Bosepukur, ballygunge place, Tollygunge-Golf Club Road and New Alipur B Block, on a normal working day, between 6.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. The microphone of the Sound Level Meter fitted with windscreen was placed 1.5m above the ground and at least 1m from the façade of the building at each location. Data recorded at each location were used to compute the one-hour equivalent continuous noise level Leq. On the same locations, the above procedure was repeated on the Kali puja day (01.11.05) as well as Diwali day (02.11.05). Results of noise pollution survey: The noise survey results in 2005 (Table-I) reveal slightly increase in the ambient noise level in various residential areas in the city of Kolkata and Howrah on the Kali puja day in comparison to any normal day. The main cause of increase in ambient noise level on festival days is bursting of crackers, whereas in normal days, the main contributions to the ambient noise level of any residential area are from trade activities, the transport system and various domestic activities. The main observations are summarised below: i.
The increase of the noise level at the select locations on the Kali puja day compared to a normal day in 2005 varies from -3% to 9%. This is much lower compared to the figure during 2004, but almost similar compared to 2003(Table-II).
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Compared to last year (2004), there is decrease in the noise level in most of the sample locations, which varied from -18% to 0%, except in one location where 6% rise in noise level recorded (Table-III). A reduction of noise level on Kali puja day –11% to 0% is observed during 2005 when compared to the 2003 data (Table-IV).
Analysis of Complaints: A central Control Room was set up at the Head Office of WBPCB at Paribesh Bhawan, Salt Lake, Kolkata on four days from pre-Kali Puja day (31.10.05) to post Diwali day (02.11.05) during evening to late night to receive complaints. In addition, control rooms were set up in the Regional Offices of the Board at Haldia, Hooghly, Barrackpore, Durgapur, Siliguri and Asansol Sub-Regional Office. The details of complaints received in the years 2004 and 2005 in the WBPCB Control Room at Paribesh Bhawan are furnished below: Year 2004 2005 Kali Puja...