When Apple launched a feature to track noise via its watch, not many had imagined that it would have an application in a developing country like India. India does have rules to track noise levels, but these are observed more in their flouting. Delhi, however, is looking to change that. According to a Times of India report, it has asked all DMs and police to ensure that Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 are followed in spirit. After the NGT order in August this year, the government will be asking for installation of sound limiter devices at private functions. The device shall monitor the decibel level, and if the audio system exceeds a pre-set level of volume, for say, 10 seconds, it shall cut off the power supply. Religious processions or marriages won’t be able to blast their music in residential areas. The government will also enforce the Rs. 10,000 fine along with the seizure of loudspeaker, and Rs. 1 lakh for the use of DG set.
While the rules mandate a 55dBA limit for the day and 45dBA at night for residential areas, the problem is implementation. A sound limiter may be helpful, but the chances of people gaming the system are high. A helpline number and a website also exist to report such incidences, which indeed is a good start, but it all depends on enforcement. Given how increased incidence of hyperacusis, a hearing and neural disorder, is being linked to exposure to noise pollution, Delhi showing intent to implement the Rules is welcome, others should follow.