Hyderabad: ‘The laidback city of Nawabs’ is no more an apt description for Hyderabad. More than 50 lakh cars, a buzzing nightlife and booming commerce have all led to noisy nights in the city, with noise pollution rising sharply.
In the year 2017, a peculiar trend has emerged with noise levels in residential areas tearing through the standards prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and industrial areas staying well below the norms.
According to data recorded by the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), the average noise levels in 2017 for Jubilee Hills, a posh and residential area, were 60 decibels (dB)) during daytime and 57 dB during night. This is against prescribed standards of 55 dB for residential areas during the daytime and 45 dB at night. This shows an overshoot of 5 dB in Jubilee Hills for daytime and a staggering 12 dB, or 26 per cent, for night.
Same is the case at night for Gachibowli, another upmarket and recently-developed residential area. The average noise levels recorded here stood at 57 dB during night and 63 dB during the daytime. The figures make Gachibowli noisier than Jubilee Hills during daytime and just as noisy during night.
Noisier still is Tarnaka, a residential area with not much commerce or even nightlife to boast of. Tarnaka recorded 58 dB at night and 63 dB during daytime, making it the noisiest residential area in the city.
Surprisingly enough, Jeedimetla, long an industrial hub, has stayed well below the prescribed noise norms. It recorded 61 dB average at night and 66 dB average for daytime, while the standards for industrial areas are 70 dB for night and 75 for daytime. This means that Jeedimetla has recorded, for 2017, a good 9 dB less noise than allowed, during both night and day.
Secunderabad’s commercial hub, Paradise area, is the noisiest at night, with 73 dB average as against the prescribed limit of 55 dB. That is a stunning 18 dB overshoot, or a mighty 33 per cent. Paradise area fares no better during daytime, with 73 dB average as against the allowed limit of 65 dB.
Unsurprisingly, Abids, the commercial hub of Hyderabad, records the same figures as Paradise area during daytime, but a little less noise during night, with 70 dB night time average as against the limit of 55 dB.
In fact, even a sensitive area such as the Nehru Zoological Park has crossed the standard of 40 dB for its zone by 30 per cent during night logging 52 dB. As against this, during the day, the rise was just 8 dB more than day standard.
Experts suggest a rise in movement of heavy vehicles, increased nightlife activities, and ceaseless and unnecessary honking could be the causes.
“Since the data clearly shows that industry is not to be blamed for noise pollution in Hyderabad, the blame has to be placed on the rising number of private cars and commercial cabs. These days, the traffic at nights is as much as it used to be in the daytime some years ago. Norms prescribed for night by CPCB are based on scientific research on the sleeping needs of the human body. With an increase in nightlife activities and the number of cars on the road, levels seems to have gone up,” said TSPCB Chief Scientific Officer, P Veeranna.
“People in Hyderabad can drive without fuel but not without honking. The majority of drivers use the horn as a form of threat to other drivers and especially to pedestrians. When bikers and car drivers see a pedestrian crossing the road, instead of braking, they honk and accelerate. Except for a change in the way people think, there is no solution to noise pollution,” said a retired town planning official who did not wish to be identified.