HYDERABAD: With Ganesh Visarjan taking place in full flow in the city on Monday, levels of noise pollution rose at an alarming rate. While dancing along to energetic beats is synonymous with the visarjan, the long-term effects need to be considered.
A common sight on the day of visarjan is the large number of bands that accompany the devouts who come to immerse their idols in the lake.
The extremely loud music does add to the atmosphere, the processions were truly a noisy affair on Monday.
As to the long term effects of noise, experts it could lead to hearing impairment or deafness later on. “If a person is exposed to more than 85 decibels of sound, it could lead to noise-induced hearing loss or sensory neural deafness. Sometimes, it can be a temporary situation but on some occasions, it could also lead to permanent damage to the ear,” informs Dr Vishnu Reddy, ENT specialist at CARE Hospital.
Dr Reddy explains that people taking part in such celebrations and the ones who dance in close proximity to the loud bands, are at greater risk to hearing loss. “As these people are exposed to constant loud noise for several hours, they are at maximum risk. However, even passerby’s can suffer as a result of this. I often see patients who complain of ear-related problems after weddings or functions which has similar loud music,” he says.
While most people shrug these warnings off and justify these acts as part of celebrations, Dr Reddy warns of serious implications. “Sometimes, this could lead to a ruptured ear drum. Such kind of cases are usually common only during bomb blasts or among people working in factories. But of late, people have suffered due to exposure at such celebrations as well. Therefore, it is better to avoid being a part of such festivities ,” he advises.
Though revelers will continue to ignore the warnings, there are others who unwittingly get exposed to the noise which at times keeps them up at night as well.
Residents in the areas with Ganesh pandals have complained that extremely loud noise has compelled them to stay indoors on the occasion. “Some of these drums are specially designed to create loud noise, which forces people to shut their ears. The noise is so loud and sharp that my ear hurts even after I take precautions. Even though I’m a devout of lord Vinayaka, I refrain from taking part in Ganesh Visarjan festivities due to this reason,” opines N Atul Kumar, a chartered accountant.
A sight that was also common on Monday was the way the Ganesh idols were being immersed. People from across the city were also displeased with the manner in which the idols were treated and with the behaviour of the crowd during immersion. “Most of the people were disrespectfully flinging the idols into the lake. Some of the idols were instantly shattered into tiny bits. The crowd was also filled with drunk men, who were causing a lot of nuisance in their inebriated state,” shares Krithika Verma, a college student. Ironically, inspite of Monday being declared a dry day, a large number of people near the Hussain Sagar lake were found in a drunken state, even in broad daylight.
“Just watching people treat Ganesh idols so shabbily and misbehave in the name of religion makes me squirm with disgust. Does it mean devotion has an expiry date?,” questions Sudhakar Rao, an activist.
As Ganesh celebrations came to a close on Monday, one wonders if we are putting ourselves at risk by taking part in noisy processions and celebrations in the name of religion.