UNEP lists UP's Moradabad as 2nd noisiest city, official rejects
Raising concerns over rising global noise pollution levels, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently released a report listing the noisiest cities in the world, where people may be at risk of hearing loss. Significantly, the top three cities on the list are all in South Asia--Dhaka (Bangladesh), Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh, India), and Islamabad (Pakistan).
Why does this story matter?
Noise pollution is among the top environmental risks as high levels of noise affect human health and well-being. As per experts, air and noise pollution should be identified as one of the major factors causing cardiac irregularities. The maximum permissible noise level is 55-70 decibels, according to the World Health Organization, but South Asian cities are witnessing very high exposure levels beyond those limits.
Official of Moradabad's Pollution Control Board rejects the study
Meanwhile, an official from Moradabad's Pollution Control Board has rejected the international environmental organization's claim. "The report is wrong. There are no (UNEP) sensors installed to measure such data here... neither have we received any information about such monitoring " Vikas Mishra, the official of the board has been quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Details about the report
Last month, the UNEP released a report titled 'Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes, and Mismatches,' emphasizing noise pollution and its long-term physical and mental health consequences, as well as mitigative measures to generate positive and restorative soundscapes in urban areas.
How much noise pollution is there in South Asian cities?
People in Bangladesh's Dhaka, which is famous for its garment industry, were exposed to noise levels of 119 decibels. Moradabad's noise levels stood at 114 decibels, while Pakistan's capital city Islamabad saw noise levels of 105 decibels, according to the report. Delhi along with two Bengal cities-Kolkata, Asansol, and Jaipur is also on the list, with noise levels ranging between 80 and 90 decibels.
What does the report say about other regions and cities?
The report also gave information about noise pollution from cities around the world. Nine out of ten of New York's mass transit users were subjected to noise levels exceeding 70 decibels. Two out of five Hong Kong residents are subjected to excessive traffic noise, and more than half of European city dwellers live in noisy areas, affecting their overall health.
World's quietest cities
According to the UNEP report, Irbid in Jordan is the world's quietest city at 60 decibels (dB), followed by Lyon, France (69 dB), Madrid, Spain (69 dB), Stockholm, Sweden (70 dB), and Belgrade, Serbia (70 dB).
How can noise pollution be prevented?
According to experts, noise levels above 70 decibels (dB) for an extended time period could increase the risk of hearing loss. "High levels of noise impair human health and well-being," said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen in the report. She also listed noise pollution solutions, stating that electrified transportation and green spaces must be included within the city planning to decrease noise levels.