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Moradabad 2nd most noise polluted city globally: UNEP

Published: 4th Apr, 2022


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

Noise is classified as an air pollutant under the Air (Prevention and Control) of Pollution Act, 1981.


Key-highlights of the Report

  • The Frontier 2022 report mentions a total of 61 cities.
  • The highest noise pollution of 119 db has been recorded in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
  • Moradabad has recorded noise pollution of a maximum of 114 decibels (db).
  • At third place is Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, where the noise pollution level has been recorded at 105 db.
  • 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: 
    • Kolkata (89 db)
    • Asansol (89 db)
    • Jaipur (84 db)
    • Delhi (83 db)

WHO’s standard for noise pollution

  • 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.

What is noise pollution?

  • This kind of pollution cannot be seen, but it is present nonetheless, both on land and under the sea.
  • Noise pollution is considered to be any unwanted or disturbing sound that affects the health and well-being of humans and other organisms.       
  • Sound is measured in decibels.
  • There are many sounds in the environment, from
    • rustling leaves (20 to 30 decibels)
    • a thunderclap (120 decibels)
    • wail of a siren (120 to 140 decibels)
  • Sounds that reach 85 decibels or higher can harm a person’s ears.
  • Sound sources that exceed this threshold include familiar things, such as power lawn mowers (90 decibels), subway trains (90 to 115 decibels), and loud rock concerts (110 to 120 decibels).

Why is it a concern?

  • The most common health problem it causes is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
  • Exposure to loud noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and stress. 
  • Traffic noise increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure and hypertension.
  • A 1 decibel increase in daytime sound increased the risk of cardio (heart) and cerebrovascular (related to blood flow to the brain) diseases by 0.17 to 0.66 per cent.

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