UP’s anti-loudspeaker drive: Tackling noise without technology | India Today sting
As the Uttar Pradesh administration cracks down on outdoor loudspeakers following Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s directives, an India Today investigation has found that many in the state law enforcement are not trained and equipped to track and tackle noise pollution in totality.
Physical removal of unauthorised devices is just one part of enforcing the rules. The existing guidelines also cover pollutants from authorised sources that surpass the prescribed thresholds of sound.
Police personnel India Today spoke to weren’t even aware that sound is measured in units called decibels, leave alone the tools and apps that record noise pollution.
AT WITS’ END ABOUT TECH
At Muradnagar police station in Ghaziabad district, senior sub-inspector Sompal and head constable Kamal Hasan were at their wits’ end when asked about equipment.
“Do you have any decibel meter at your station or not?” the reporter asked the SSI.
“I’ll get it checked,” he replied.
Sompal’s colleague, Hasan, admitted they had no devices to measure sound levels.
“We don’t know how we will measure it [sound],” the head constable said. “Which facility are you talking about? Who will issue decibel meters and who will get them?”
At Partapur police station in Meerut, SSI Vijendra Sharma accepted that they had no technology in hand to enforce the anti-noise pollution drive fully.
“We will ensure that the sound is not coming out of the premises,” Sharma said.
“But do you have the devices?” the reporter asked.
“We don’t have any meter yet. They will be provided by the administration. We don’t have those sound meters at the police station level,” the SSI answered.
OLD METHODS IN HI-TECH AGE
The SHO of Meerut Sadar’s police station, Dev Singh Rawat, is dependent on conventional methods to enforce the rules.
“We are talking to them [people]. There’s a peace committee. All guidelines will be followed regarding noise pollution,” he said.
“It’s noise pollution. How will you measure it? Do you have any device?” the journalist asked.
“We don’t have any. No one can do it [determine noise pollution] by just hearing. We’ll coordinate with officials from the administration. Maybe they’ll have some device,” Rawat said. “The police station doesn’t have it.”
‘ONUS ON MICROPHONE USERS’
The SHO of New Mandi police station at Muzaffarnagar, Pankaj Pant, put the onus on buyers and sellers of microphones when asked about enforcing decibel guidelines.
“It’s the responsibility of those using it. They are required to inquire about it from the sellers,” he said. “People have been shown the notice carrying prescribed decibel levels. They will be required to inquire from the seller about the decibel levels of the product. Those who are getting the microphones installed should have them [the devices],” he added.
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh have set decibel limits for industrial (75 dB daytime), commercial (65 dB daytime), residential (55 dB daytime) and silent zones.
Countries battling noise pollution deploy a range of devices to map it and prosecute the offenders.
In Paris, for instance, a noise radar identifies loud vehicles, which are prosecuted for breaches.
Researchers in Belgium have developed an app to record sound levels and GPS locations.
Prashant Kumar, ADG (law and order) in Uttar Pradesh, told India Today that police personnel enforcing loudspeaker rules will be accompanied by officials from the pollution department.
“Those officials are competent enough to determine the noise levels and advise the next course of action,” he said.
Read the full article at: indiatoday.in