In the famous movie Bridge on the River Kwai based on World War II, there is a scene where the troops have to march across the bridge to engage with the enemy. The troop commander orders the soldiers not to march in unison but out of step. This precaution was taken as the combined load of the men and the vibration from stamping of feet would have damaged the bridge.
Noise is defined as something which is not soothing to the ear or that which may cause damage to sensory organs. Someone in pain and crying is not good to hear while chirping of birds is pleasant to hear.
A problem of modern living is the increasing noise in the environment. The level of noise is always high at busy markets, roads, commercial establishments and areas close to heavy industries. In India there is no dearth of festivals and one always encounters blaring noise at busy thoroughfares.
Ours is a multi-religious society and there is an increasing trend towards demonstrative exhibitions of faith. Every place of worship has a loudspeaker outside, blaring music or prayers for the entire community to hear. What is worse is when lewd film songs are played loud on the speakers during temple festivals causing a lot of disturbance.
Sound is a form of energy which is emitted by a vibrating body and on reaching the ear causes the sensation of hearing through nerves. Sounds produced by all vibrating bodies are not audible. The frequency limits of audibility are from 20 HZ to 20,000 HZ.
A noise problem generally consists of three inter-related elements — the source, the receiver and the transmission path. This transmission path is the atmosphere through which the sound is propagated, but can include the structural materials of any building containing the receiver.
Educational institutions, hospitals, homes for the aged, nursing homes and libraries are important areas where noise from the outside can be damaging and annoying. Noise menace near hospitals can be life threatening. There are so many patients who have undergone surgery and for them noise will be unbearable. One cannot imagine the additional pain they go through, caused by irresponsible people.
Often neglected, noise induces a severe impact on humans and living organisms. Most adverse effects ultimately result in irreversible health hazards. Physiological features like breathing amplitude, blood pressure, heart-beat rate, pulse rate, blood cholesterol are affected. Long exposure to high sound levels cause loss of hearing. The performance of students is affected as they lose concentration. It causes pain, ringing in the ears and feeling tired, thereby affecting the functioning of the human system.
It affects the sleep cycle, causing people to become restless and lose concentration during their regular activities.
The biggest contributor to noise pollution is vehicular traffic. This accounts for almost 40 per cent of the total noise pollution.
People are impatient and keep honking even at traffic intersections when there is a red light and they know pretty well that honking is not going to solve the problem of congestion.
In major cities police control rooms have a toll free facility for the public to telephonically register their complaints. Most calls relate to noise pollution, blaring loudspeakers or use of loudspeakers beyond the permissible time.
Normally beyond 10 pm, loudspeakers are not supposed to be used in public places. Even in residential areas house parties have to be subdued so as not to create annoyance for others nearby.
In western countries people are very sensitive to noise pollution and in the night even the flush in bathrooms cannot be used as it might disturb other residents, inviting litigation and penalty.
While there are laws regarding noise pollution in our country, observance and enforcement of them is remains a problem.
Diwali is the festival of lights but due to the bursting of crackers, a great deal of noise and atmospheric pollution is generally caused.
Let us celebrate and enjoy the festival but not at the cost of our fellow citizens’ rights. Consideration and sensitivity towards others should be important.