Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Noise Pollution in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Noise Pollution

Mains level : Not Much

The city of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh is the second-most noise polluted city globally, according to a recent report title Frontier 2022 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

What is Noise Pollution?

  • Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise or sound pollution, is the propagation of noise with ranging impacts on the activity of human or animal life, most of them harmful to a degree.
  • It is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms.
  • The source of outdoor noise worldwide is mainly caused by machines, transport, and propagation systems.
  • Poor urban planning may give rise to noise disintegration or pollution, side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential areas.
  • Some of the main sources of noise in residential areas include loud music, transportation (traffic, rail, airplanes, etc.), maintenance, construction, electrical generators, wind turbines, explosions, and people etc.

Defining Noise Pollution

  • Sounds with a frequency over 70 db are considered harmful to health.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended a 55 db standard for residential areas in the 1999 guidelines, while for traffic and business sectors, the limit was 70 db.
  • The WHO set the limit of noise pollution on the road at 53 db in 2018, taking into account health safety.

Noise Pollution in India

  • The report identifies 13 noise polluted cities in south Asia. Five of these, including Moradabad, are in India, which have recorded alarming levels of noise pollution:
  1. Kolkata (89 db)
  2. Asansol (89 db)
  3. Jaipur (84 db)
  4. Delhi (83 db)
  • The noise pollution figures given in the report relate to daytime traffic or vehicles.
  • Moradabad has recorded noise pollution of a maximum of 114 decibels (db). The Frontier 2022 report mentions a total of 61 cities.

Case in the neighborhood

  • The highest noise pollution of 119 db has been recorded in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
  • At third place is Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, where the noise pollution level has been recorded at 105 db.

Hazards created

  • High levels of noise pollution affect human health and well-being by having an effect on sleep.
  • This has a bad effect on the communication of many animal species living in the area and their ability to hear.
  • Regular exposure for eight hours a day to 85 decibels of sound can permanently eliminate the ability to hear.
  • Not only that, exposure to relatively low noise pollution for long periods in cities can harm physical and mental health.


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