Burst­ing a myth: Honk­ing is nois­ier than fire­crack­ers

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Mo­ham­mad.Ibrar @times­group.com

New Delhi: Honk­ing of ve­hi­cles is a big­ger noise pol­luter than fire­crack­ers with deci­bel lev­els go­ing up to 100. In com­par­i­son, crack­ers emit up to 90 deci­bels noise.

This was re­vealed by a study con­ducted in Fe­bru­ary and March for around 30 days by In­draprastha In­sti­tute of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IIIT), Delhi. It was found that honk­ing noise, es­pe­cially from two-wheel­ers, is far more prob­lem­atic as it con­tin­u­ously oc­curs for hours daily.

The re­searchers mea­sured noise pol­lu­tion on eight prom­i­nent roads and 12 in­ter­sec­tions of the city. They found that roads with a metro line or sta­tion are far nois­ier as con­crete re­flects sound.

Pravesh Biyani, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor with Elec­tronic and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (ECE) de­part­ment of IIIT, which con­ducted the study, said that they used a cus­tomised in­stru­ment to mea­sure the noise for 60 con­tin­u­ous hours over sev­eral days.

“We re­moved the honk­ing noise from other noises that you gen­er­ally hear on the roads. Since I work on speech source sep­a­ra­tion field, we used that to iden­tify honk­ing from a mix­ture of sounds. It was found that on a given day, the deci­bel lev­els of honk­ing reached up to 100 deci­bels. Twowheel­ers are the big­gest cul­prits for noise pol­lu­tion be­cause their num­bers are higher than cars,” Biyani said.

The re­search stated that if honk­ing is re­duced in ve­hi­cles, it could help re­duce noise pol­lu­tion by a huge amount. “How­ever, we need to take other steps, es­pe­cially on roads that have an over­head metro sta­tion or line. At Govin­d­puri sta­tion, we found the deci­bel level reach­ing 100,” said Biyani.

“There is a need to put noise ab­sorbers on metro pil­lars and sta­tions as well as road di­viders. We found that con­crete is not a good noise ab­sorber

Fire­crack­ers and, in fact, re­flects sound. Be­cause of this, the deci­bel lev­els were a lit­tle higher on roads with a metro sta­tion,” Biyani said, adding that IIIT will re­lease their re­search data with deci­bel data sets and videos of roads soon. “We want to put our re­sults in pub­lic to as­sist other re­searchers,” he said.

Con­tin­u­ous noise can be dam­ag­ing to the ear. “Hair cells in the ear get dam­aged se­verely if one is ex­posed to loud noises for a long pe­riod,” said Dr Ravi Me­her, pro­fes­sor at Maulana Azad Med­i­cal Colle

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2 ge. “The dam­age de­pends on the in­ten­sity of the sound. If the noise is in the range of 8090 deci­bels, then it can dam­age ears within eight hours. If the sound in­creases to100 deci­bels, then one can get af­fected in less than six hours,” he added.

A team of stu­dent re­searchers at IIT-Delhi had show­cased a study done by them dur­ing In­dus­try Day on Septem­ber 21. “Nat­u­ral prod­ucts like jute, husk and cot­ton can be ef­fec­tive noise ab­sorbers,” said a re­search poster on dis­play.

Anand Vi­har, IP Extn, 3. Govin­d­puri metro sta­tion, 4. Ma­ha­rani Bagh, 5. Con­naught Place, 6. Dwarka Sec­tor 10, 7. Na­tional High­way 8, 8. South Ex metro sta­tion

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