Noise levels affecting sea mammals

CHENNAI: “The underwater noise levels today are ten times more than they were a few decades ago, which is a serious worry for life on land and water because sustainable ocean space makes way for sustainable land space,” said S.K. Bhattacharya, Head, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras.

He was delivering a special lecture on ‘Acoustics’ for school students organised by the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre in collaboration with Madras India Regional Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Foundation here on Saturday.

S.K. Bhattacharya, Head, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-M, interacts with school students at a programme on acoustics in Chennai on Saturday. Founder of Acoustical Foundation H.S. Paul (second from right) is in the picture. — Photo: K..V.Srinivasan

Listing the various ill-effects of underwater noise pollution on marine mammals, Professor Bhattacharya said that anthropogenic noise due to activities like commercial shipping, Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) activities and hydrocarbon-related engineering activities contributed a great deal in increasing the noise levels.

Marine mammals exposed to underwater noise pollution suffer from displacement, trauma, stranding, internal injuries, eye haemorrhaging, and sometimes even death, he added.

“The marine mammals exposed to Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) above a certain level can sometimes face mass extinction,” he said.

The other significant activities detrimental to the sustenance of a healthy marine system, he added, were dredging, drilling and exploration, near shore construction and military activities on the sea.

On the various statutory bodies of seawater regulation, regulatory mechanisms on water and other environmental issues, Professor Bhattacharya said that the ocean taxonomy needed to be documented better.

From THE HINDU

Chennai: Noise pollution exceeds limits

Comprehensive study carried out at traffic junctions

CHENNAI: Noise levels at major traffic junctions in the city, including Ashok Pillar, Koyambedu, Vadapalani, Saidapet, Anna Salai near LIC building, Anna Nagar roundabout and Madras Medical College are well above the permissible extent.

NOISY AFFAIR: Noise from vehicles contributes to the high pollution levels in several spots in the city, such as this on Anna Salai on Tuesday. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

According to Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the Ambient Air Quality Standards in respect of noise in areas categorised as commercial area is 65 decibels (db) for day time and 55 db for night time. Data recorded by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board shows that the Pachaiyappa’s College junction recorded 80.6 db, the highest among other spots in the city.

It was measured during the day time, which is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The data was recorded in the end of 2008, said to be one of the few comprehensive studies carried out by the Board at traffic junctions. The noise recorded by the Board at over 20 locations in the city using noise level metres was mainly vehicular noise that included sounds of horns, in some cases air horns, engine noise and noises of vehicles moving. Sounds of civil works being carried out on the road side, noises from loud speakers and even sounds of people talking on mobile phones add to the noise levels, said officials of the Board.

According to the study, the noise level during the day time was 78.8 db near the Gemini flyover, 78.5 db near the LIC building, 78.6 db around the autorickshaw stand inside the Central railway station, 78.6 db at the Vadapalani junction, 75.7 db near the Saidapet bus terminus, 77.7 db near the Madras Medical College, 77.1 db near the Ashok Pillar, 76.9 db near the Anna Nagar roundabout and 71.3 db near the bus stop near the Egmore railway station.

Advocate K.V.P. Deepakraj, a resident of Mylapore, said that police should take steps to issue memos to vehicles using loud horns. “It is a nuisance. They issue memos and book cases for not wearing helmets and seat belts sometimes. In other countries people do not sound horns unless absolutely necessary. Stringent measures by the concerned authorities would help bring down the noise levels caused by vehicular horns,” he said.

Deepa H Ramakrishnan From THE HINDU