The deafening sound created by traditional instruments like dhol tasha and pakhwaj along with electronic music played on the last day of the Ganesh festival continues to cross permissible limits.
Students of College of Engineering Pune (COEP), who conducted the annual monitoring exercise for the 14th year in succession, found decibel levels at 10 spots along the immersion route extremely high, violating permissible limits but a tad less noisier than earlier years.
Average readings taken at 19 locations by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the 11th day of the Ganesh festival also found that sound levels ranged between 70dB and 90 dB.
According to the noise pollution rules, the permissible level during the day is 50 dB in silence zones and 55 dB in residential areas.
Noise has been recognised as an ambient air pollutant. Apart from COEP, MPCB has also been monitoring noise pollution in various cities during the Ganesh festival.
In Pune, student volunteers from COEP took readings every four hours during the exercise that started at 12 noon on September 27 and ended at 8 am on September 28.
Between 8 pm and midnight, the noise levels during the immersion procession were deafening. At two places along the immersion route (Kunte chowk and Limbaraj Maharaj chowk), it exceeded 100 decibels, according to Dr Mahesh Shindikar, member of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority and assistant professor of applied sciences at COEP who guided the students. The average recording of levels during that period was 104.1 dB. However, the noise levels dipped after 1.30 am, he said.
COEP students monitored noise 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. The average level registered was 96.6 dB.
Noise levels have been consistently rising during Ganesh festival over the last decade. While the festival was noisiest in 2013, when average reading showed levels as high as 114.4 decibels, it was 104.2dB in 2012.
MPCB spokesperson Sanjay Bhuskute said that among the 19 spots where MPCB monitored sound levels on the first (September 17), second, fifth, seventh and final days of the festival, average levels ranged between 50 and 90 dB.
University Road and Aundh Parihar chowk registered the maximum sound levels at 91 dB on the day of the immersion, according to MPCB officials. Navi Sanghvi (Krushna chowk) also had an average of 93 dB on the immersion day. Karve Road, Swargate, Satara Road registered high decibel levels in the range of 82- 85dB.