NGT Silencer on Noise Polluters

New penalties seek to rein in violators in neighbourhoods and public places. Bursting crackers to playing loud music in residential areas and construction activity beyond limits and in prohibited times will attract action.  

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cleared the proposal for hefty penalties that may go as high as Rs 1 lakh for violations of noise pollution norms made by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

With this the stage is set for stricter monitoring and punishment of violations of the norms by the general public and institutions, including RWAs, disturbing peace and tranquility in neighbourhoods and impacting general health of residents and citizens at large.

The violations range from playing loud music to running diesel generator sets and construction equipment and vehicular traffic in neighbourhoods and public places beyond permissible limits.

In the order August 11, 2020, the NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel also mandated the constitution of a monitoring committee headed by retired high court judge SP Garg to ensure compliance of noise pollution rules in the national Capital. This perhaps could well serve as a template for all other regions in the country for better implementation of the norms.

Submitting a report to the NGT on June 12 in the context of a multiple litigations and complaints on noise pollution in the NCR area, the CPCB had proposed penalties for various violations under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000.

Noise Limits

The Rules set the air quality standards in respect of noise for each category of area including residential areas and silence zones violation or non-compliance of which will attract penalties or compensation set in the report. The schedule is as follows: 

Approving the fines the NGT chairperson said the Tribunal was of the view the compensation scale laid down by the CPCB for defaulters may be enforced throughout India and therefore the CPCB issue appropriate statutory orders for the purpose of compliance by all States and Union Territories.

Under the new system of fines, a violation of norms over the use of loudspeakers / public address systems, for instance, can result in the confiscation of equipment and a fine of Rs 10,000.

Similarly, violating noise pollution norms over the use of diesel generator sets can result in sealing of the sets and a fine between Rs 10,000 and Rs 100,000 depending on the size of the set.

Violations in cases of sound-emitting construction equipment can result in a fine of Rs 50,000 and its seizure or sealing.

Enlistment of Violation of Noise Rules & Their Respective Scale of Compensation

Sl No.

Violation of Noise Rules

Compensation (in Rupees_ to be paid by defaulter

Action to be taken by designated authority

1

Use of loudspeakers/PA systems

Rs 10,000

Seizure

2

Violations WRT generator sets Norms

 

a) DG sets over 1000 KVA

b) DG sets 62.5 to 1000 KVA

c) DG sets of up tp 62.5 KVA

Rs1,00,000

Rs 25,000

Rs 10,000

 

Seizure of DG Set

 

3

Violation of use of sound emitting construction equipment

Rs 50,000

Seizure/sealing of equipment

4.

Bursting of firecrackers beyond the prescribed time limits as per SC and cluse 5A (2) & 6 (iv)

 

1) Violation by individual or household in residential/ commercial zone – Rs 1000

     Violation by individual or household in silence zone – Rs 3000

 

2) Violation during procession/ public rallies/ barat during marriage or religious procession  

Rs 10,000 in residential / commercial zone

Rs 20,000 in silence zone

 

3) First violation with a fixed premises

 - Function organized by an RWA

- Marriage function

- Public function

- Institution function

- Banquet hall

- Open ground function

Rs 20,000

Fine to be paid by organizers or owner of the place

 

4) Second  violation with a fixed premises

 - Function organized by an RWA

- Marriage function

- Public function

- Institution function

- Banquet hall

- Open ground function

Rs 40,000

 

 

5) More than two violations with a fixed premises

 - Function organized by an RWA

- Marriage function

- Public function

- Institution function

- Banquet hall

- Open ground function

Rs 1,00,000 and action under EP Act

Sealing of premises


As per the Noise pollution rules the permissible noise levels for residential areas has been set at 55 decibels (dB [A]) during the day and 45 dB(A) at night. The standards for industrial areas are 75 dB (A) during the day and 70 dB (A) at night. The standard noise limit for silence zones such as hospitals and educational institutions during day time is 50 dB (A) and 40dB (A) during the night.

Health and Psychological Impact of Noise Pollution 

Research has shown that the impact of regular exposure to noise can manifest itself in people becoming irritable, nervous and facing difficulty in taking decisions. It ha shown to hinder normal development of speech and hearing in children, resulting in delayed developmental milestones affecting their overall growth.  

Noise is an underestimated threat that can cause a number of short and long term health problems, while it has become an increasing hazard in urban India with little knowledge and awareness among general populations on its impact.

Noise is regarded a pollutant under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and defined as an unwanted sound. It consists of obtrusive, annoying, distracting or persistent sounds that interfere with sleep or the ability to concentrate or enjoy life. The source of such noise irritants can be anything from construction activity in the neighbours house, or the community booster pump or generator set.

The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for community noise recommend less than 30-A weighted decibels in bedrooms during the night for a good quality sleep and less than 35A in classroom to allow good teaching and learning conditions.  

 Unfortunately however, these facts are little known either by common citizens or even RWA managers who seldom tend to ignore these norms.

However, with the new penalties stipulated by the CPCB and the setting up of regional monitoring mechanisms, it is perhaps time now for people to become aware of the hazards of persistent noise pollution.

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