Suspending the immersion procession on September 1 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a huge drop in noise levels, reveal the results of a sound level mapping exercise conducted at 10 selected points along Laxmi Road by the College of Engineering Pune (COEP). According to the results, the decibel levels have fallen by more than 30 points since last year and are within permissible limits!
Mahesh Shindikar, assistant professor of Biology at the Applied Science Department, CoEP, and his team have been conducting the sound-monitoring exercise at 10 crossroads along Laxmi Road on the concluding days of the Ganesh festival. This year, Shindikar and his team conducted the exercise on September 1 and 2. The sound levels were monitored along the procession path despite no immersion procession.
“Our observations are significant and self explanatory,” said Shindikar, adding that the average noise levels recorded were between the range of 55 dB to 61 dB. For comparison, the average noise levels recorded were 86.2 decibels in 2019, 90.4 dB in 2018, and 90.9 dB in 2017. In 2016, the noise levels were as high as 92.6 dB and 96.6 dB in 2015.
As per rules to curb noise pollution, permissible levels during the day are 50 dB in silent zones and 55 dB in residential areas. However, the cacophony of beating drums, dhol-tashas and other traditional instruments by Ganesh mandals, as they line up for the final adieu to Ganesha during the immersion day procession, has often seen Pune reverberating with unhealthy noise levels.
“Overall, the readings are very normal and in the vicinity of prescribed permissible limits at all locations and at all times,” said Shindikar.