People playing loud music at parties will have to be more careful now. Under pressure from civil society groups, the Union environment ministry, on January 11, notified the amendments to the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules that are more stringent. For the first time, use of construction equipment has been banned at night.
The Union environment ministry officials said the amendments have been made to protect public health.
“Traffic, loud speaker and public address systems are sources of noise pollution that public is concerned about. But this is the first time use of construction equipment has been put under the scanner,” said Sumaira Abdulali of the Awaaz Foundation, a non-profit in Mumbai.
To give effect to the new rules, the Central Pollution Control Board will improve its noise monitoring network through a National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network to create baseline data. The ministry has proposed 10 noise monitoring stations each in the four metropolitan cities besides Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Lucknow by September this year.
Abdulali said the notification has taken care of some rough edges in the draft amendments. For example, the notification allows use of loudspeakers and bursting of firecrackers till midnight, 15 days a year. The draft rules had mentioned 15-day exemptions each for loudspeakers and firecrackers; this would have added to 30 days a year. The 15-day exemption would now apply to the state as a whole and not individual districts as mentioned in the draft amendments.
Sudhir Badani of iit Mumbai said the amended rules are silent on whether the authorities will now take suo moto action against violators or only when they receive public complaints.
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