Panaji: Real-time noise level monitoring mechanism will soon be a reality but until this long-term measure is put in place, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has geared up to ensure outdoor event organisers do not violate the law which bans playing amplified music post-10 pm.
Strong observations made by the Bombay High Court at Goa for ‘silent nights’ in the coastal belt have kept the authorities -- also comprising of Mamlatdars and police personnel -- on their toes this season.
The GSPCB officers, Chairman Mahesh Patil said, are equipped with devices to measure sound decibels. “Our team, assisted by officials from other concerned departments, will be deployed along the coastal belt with the devices to check for sound pollution. Violators will be booked,” he said while speaking to The Goan on the plans chalked out this season.
The Chairman further claimed that they are equipped with an adequate number of portable sound measuring instruments for use by field officials.
Determined to crack down on late-night parties and unauthorized events along the beach belt, the Board had earlier this year proposed installing sound and noise monitoring stations and sought assistance from the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).
The GSPCB has already identified 12 sites at Calangute, Baga, Arpora, Candolim, Arambol, Morjim, and Mandrem in North Goa; and Colva, Cavelossim, Benaulim, and Agonda in South Goa to conduct continuous ambient noise monitoring.
“A private player is identified to set up a continuous, real-time noise level monitoring system with a quick alert reporting system as well as a noise control centre to inform the GSPCB about the increase in noise level. It will be monitored round the clock and the sampling of noise will be carried out every five minutes,” an official said.
The Board also undertook a noise-mapping exercise to quantify sound pollution in industrial areas, the tourism belt, and residential areas.
As per law, the ambient noise quality standard for industrial areas in the daytime is 75 decibels (dB) while it is 70 dB at night time. For commercial areas, the noise level is restricted to 66 dB during day time and 55 dB at night, whereas for residential areas, the air quality standards are 55 dB during the day and 45 dB at night. For silent zones, the noise prescribed limit is 50 dB during the day and 40dB during night hours.
The noise-level mapping will be extended to other areas if required on the recommendations of the district magistrate.
Commercial establishments such as clubs, pubs, and shacks besides organisers of the seasonal beach-side event have often come under criticism for playing deafening music that begins in the evening till way past midnight. Coastal residents made several petitions to the authorities even as the law banning music at commercial places post 10 pm always existed, but the relief came in only after High Court’s strict directions to ensure ‘silent nights’.
Indoor parties can go on beyond 10 pm
The High Court’s order will in no way impact the parties in enclosed areas and religious events as several Goan families have planned private parties to celebrate the year-end festivities. The relaxation, which is understood through the observations by the court, however, does not allow these events to turn noise into a nuisance for others.
“Indoor parties and premises with the sound-proof system can go ahead with playing music beyond 10 pm. Court strictures are primarily for commercial activities that start when nearly 70-80 per cent of the population are off to sleep at night. While the rest enjoy the blaring sound no matter what dB it is played, it is unbearable for others. Noise nuisance is a problem… If the music is playing in an enclosed area without causing disturbance to neighbours, it is accepted,” said an officer from the Goa State Pollution Control Board.
Goa police have the same explanation as superiors have already instructed its PCR and beat patrolling teams to remain vigilant along the coastal belt. “Music played within the permissible limit and with the permission from the administration, it won't attract penal action but if it is otherwise and causing disturbance to others, they will be liable for action,” Director General of Police Jaspal Singh told The Goan.
North SP Nidhin Valsan recently said that they have set up a special control room 7875756117 where complaints of noise pollution can be lodged. This is beside the police emergency number 112. Special flying squads have also been formed to curb noise pollution during the night time with sub-divisional police officers and inspectors also asked to take rounds of their respective jurisdictions.
Footnote: This news is reported by The Goan.
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