A heavy shower and then continuous drizzle could not dampen the spirit of Ganesh mandals which kept up the tempo of celebrating with traditional dhol tasha and electronic music.
Though the processions were a tad less noisy this year, there was no respite from the resounding music. Decibel levels at 10 spots along the immersion route were extremely high, violating permissible limits.
Decibel levels registered by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and College of Engineering, Pune, over the last several years show they were the highest on the day of the immersion of the Ganesh idol. According to Dr P Anabalgan, member secretary of MPCB, due to increasing awareness about noise pollution, the decibel levels overall had dropped by a few points in Pune and across the state.
In Pune, the MPCB monitored the decibel levels on various days of the Ganesh festival. However, on the day of the immersion, the decibel level was the highest at Mahatma Phule market, Mandai (103.78 dB), followed by Aundh Parihar chowk (101.01 dB). It was the lowest at University Road chowk (76.88 dB). At all 21 spots monitored by the MPCB on the immersion day, the decibel levels ranged between 80-98 dB. On other days of the Ganesh festival, the levels ranged between 70-90 dB.
The annual exercise of monitoring noise levels conducted by College of Engineering Pune (COEP) students for the 15th year in succession found that on Thursday and Friday, levels were deafening at various spots along Laxmi Road. At Umbrya Ganpati chowk, the decibel level shot up to 108.5 dB at 8 pm on Thursday. At 4 pm on Thursday, the decibel level had risen to 103.8 dB at Kunte chowk and 102.3 at Ganpati chowk.
At 8 am on Friday, the level had reached a deafening 109.6 dB at Bhausaheb Gokhale chowk. At Tilak chowk too, the decibel level at 8 am on Friday was 100.4 dB. The average level registered was 92.6 dB, Dr Mahesh Shindikar, assistant professor from the applied sciences department of College of Engineering Pune (COEP) who guided the team of students monitoring noise levels, told The Indian Express.
The team, which was deputed throughout the immersion procession from 12 noon on September 15 till 8 am on September 16, monitored levels at 10 spots along Laxmi Road-Samadhan chowk, Ganpati chowk, Limbaraj Maharaj chowk, Kunte chowk, Umbrya Ganpati chowk, Gokhale chowk, Shedge Vithoba chowk, Holkar chowk, Tilak Chowk, Khandujibaba chowk.
“Last year the average level was 96.6 dB. This year, the average decibel level decreased by a few points. However, the slight reduction has been in terms of frequency. The overall effect was one of constant exposure to noise during the long procession,” Shindikar pointed out.
Noise has been recognised as an ambient air pollutant and the MPCB has been monitoring noise pollution in various cities during the Ganesh festival. According to the noise pollution rules, the permissible noise level during the day is 50dB in silence zones and 55dB in residential areas.
17 Ganesh mandals booked for violating noise norms
A Chandan Nagar police station team led by sub-inspector Vittal Zanjurne has lodged cases against as many as 17 Ganesh Mandals for causing violation of noise norms by playing loud speakers during the immersion procession. Police also seized a DJ vehicle from a Ganesh mandal.