LOUDEST CITY IN INDIA
Back in 2011, a study by the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) has confirmed that New Delhi is the loudest city in India. The level of noise in the streets can go above 100 decibels, which is several times louder than Singapore. The noise level has reached dangerous levels, beyond the recommended guidelines of 50-55 decibels for residential zones. Prolonged exposure to this level of noise has resulted in the increase of risk in hearing loss for the citizens. According to studies, the average age of citizens in New Delhi are 10 years older in terms of hearing, which means they are at greater risk of losing their hearing in their 50s or early 60s.
A picture of a rush-hour traffic jam in the city of Delhi
The loud noise is often generated by the honking of cars, which means changes in attitude and behavior can reduce the main source of the noise. However, this is a hurdle as the habit of honking is ingrained into their daily routine. The streets of New Dehli are shared by vehicles, people, cyclists and more. Traffic is very heavy and the use of honk is essential to alert people walking on the street of an oncoming vehicle. As this concerns personal safety, the honking behavior will be a strong internal barrier as the drivers cannot simply stop honking.
Noise pollution, an urban territorial phenomenon, is assuming serious proportions in Delhi, the third largest urban centre of India. The frequency and intensity of pollution has been increasing day by day. The present study reviews the data on sources, intensity and health implications of pollutants collected through household survey using questionnaires from two contrasting density areas; one from high-density area and another from low-density area. The analysis reveals that tremendous increase in population, industrial activities, unchecked growth in vehicular traffic and rapidly changing life style are the major factors that have created and aggravated the problem of pollution in the study area. The major health implications include annoyance, disturbance in sleep, interference with communication and other harmful effects. With the help of regression analysis, the cause and effect relationship between the intensity of pollution and occurrence of diseases among sampled households of Delhi has been established by this study. Some suggestions such as land use and transportation planning are also given in this paper for mitigating and managing the noise pollution problem in the sustainable urban development perspectives.