More light, less sound – A Festival of Lights Should Not Become a Festival of Noise: A Call for Effective Noise Pollution Control | 7 November 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the noise and air pollution as a result of firecrackers during Diwali celebration.


  • GS3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment


  • The joyous celebrations associated with Diwali, the Indian “festival of lights,” are often marred by excessive noise pollution from firecrackers. While firecrackers are a traditional part of these festivities, their harmful effects on public health and the environment cannot be ignored.


  • Harmful Effects of Noise Pollution:
    • Firecrackers, even the less noxious “green” varieties, can produce sound levels exceeding 90 decibels (dB), far beyond the safe limits set by the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000.
    • Such high noise levels have been linked to various health problems, including sleep disorders, tinnitus, stress, anxiety, hearing loss, and even cardiac issues.
  • Current Regulatory Framework and Enforcement Challenges:
    • The Noise Pollution Rules 2000 stipulate noise limits for different areas, such as residential, commercial, and industrial zones.
    • However, the demarcation of these zones is often unclear, and enforcement of the rules remains a challenge.
    • Additionally, the rules allow for complaints only when noise levels exceed the prescribed limits by 10 dB, which is a significant increase considering the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale.
  • Moving Beyond Marginal Improvements:
    • Focusing solely on incremental improvements to firecrackers is not addressing the root cause of the problem. India's noise pollution crisis demands a more comprehensive approach.
  • Proposed Solutions:
    • Ban on Violative Firecrackers: Governments should take immediate action to ban the production and sale of firecrackers that do not adhere to noise pollution regulations.
    • Public Access to Noise Data: Cities should improve public access to real-time noise data, allowing citizens to monitor noise levels and make informed decisions about their activities.
    • Noise Mitigation Targets: Cities should adopt noise mitigation targets and implement strategies to reduce noise levels across all areas.

Way Forward:

  • The festival of lights should not become a festival of noise. By addressing noise pollution as a public health crisis, we can safeguard the well-being of our citizens and preserve the tranquility of our cities.

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