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Research Last Updated: Aug 25, 2020 - 1:35:33 PM

A New Plague of Noise pollution
By E. Kalair, N. Abas, N. Khan, Comsats, 23/8/20
Aug 24, 2020 - 9:30:07 AM

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There is hardly any patch on land that is free from one or other type of pollution. Air pollution affects lungs and noise pollution hurts elderly people having heart and blood pressure diseases. Noise bullets do the same as gun bullets, but leave no wound mark. Many people hate national festivals due to extensive use of firecrackers in residential areas from sundown to late night.


On 14 August 2020, despite monsoon rains, air pollution index PM2.5 varied from 34 to 129 due to fire crackers in Lahore. Firecrackers noise was even worse than smelly smog. A toxic mix of noise and smog at 28-38C and 62 to 84 relative humidity badly affected elderly people at 11 to 12PM in Lahore.

Start of 15 August in New Delhi led to air quality indices PM2.5 and PM10 to peak at 679 and 895 at 32C temperature and 99% relative humidity due to firecrackers. Noise pollution and air quality index in New Delhi was worse than Lahore due to their fire frenzy culture and greater proportion of lower middle class population. Air pollution index often triples during Diwali events.

Firecrackers’ noise on festivals and national days is a new social problem. Youngsters remove motor cycle bikes to create more noise. Horns, engine sounds and one wheeling type unsavory antics create a hell for elderly people with heat problems. Situation in Federal and Provincial capitals is alike as police take no action in time despite apparent ban fire crackers and one wheeling on roads.

There are three types of noise. Audible, infrasonic and subsonic noises. Subsonic noise is emitted from heavy machines like heavy trucks during stationary idling. This noise is hardly audible yet has lot of power to heave doors and windows. Blood pressure victims are badly affected by this noise. Many drivers listen heavy drumbeat music and open car doors. This music also affects heart patients.

Firecrackers cause lot of fiscal losses to already busted economy. High noise fireworks cost Rs1000 to Rs10, 000 per packet. A 25 shot repeater costs Rs2, 250, 100 shots Rs7, 999 and 140 shots Rs9, 999. A simple 8 shots roman candle costs Rs999 and sky fireworks Rs1, 499 [Olx 2018]. All families do not fire crackers, say 40-60% families enjoy this fun. If one family spends only Rs500 on firecrackers, then 20 million families spent Rs10 billion on every 14 August in Pakistan.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan called for donations for funds, in response to which, 210 million people of Pakistan collected Rs1 billion in first 30 days, but on 14 August they spent about Rs10 billion on fireworks which produce air and noise pollution. All nations enjoy fireworks in designated areas, not on rooftops and streets in residential areas. The air quality index in India rises to 431 during Diwali festival in October that in conjunction with paddy crop burning causes smog in Pakistan [FP 2017].

Aging people with blood pressure, sugar and heart disease faced a doomsday on this 71st celebration of Independence Day. Noise causes sugar, blood pressure and heart diseases. People and animals who are exposed to frequent, loud noise have higher rates of heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels [Catherine 2018]. A noise level >90dB may cortisol and glucose levels and firecracker cause noise more than 130dB. When multiple crackers are fired together noise level may reach 150 to 160dB.  Make laws on noise pollution before the next Independence Day comes on 14 August 2019.

There is hardly any place on earth, which is free of air, noise, light or electromagnetic pollution. Air pollution (smog) has become the fate, yet it is time to control the noise pollution. Environmental air pollution affects lungs and noise pollution contributes to heart disease [David 2018]. Noise has been found associated with annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, impaired cognitive performance, arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke. [Thomas 2018]. Noise pollution affects plants, animals and humans. Every sensible person knows the noise pollution causes anxiety, which results in stress, especially to old age people.

The risk of heart disease increases when there are repeated blasts of loud crackers in close vicinity. An ugly trend of burning multiple crackers in one-go was noted on streets of Islamabad on 14 August 2018.  This act causes life threat to heart patients that is not banned under any law in Pakistan. Firecrackers emit toxic gases that are not good for anybody especially asthma patients [TNN 2013].  Firecrackers are burnt in India on Dawali and in Pakistan on 14 August and other festivals. Firecrackers use elements like copper, cadmium, sulphur, aluminium and barium to produce colors. Never breather in smoke of firecrackers.

Noise is defined as an unwanted sound. Mild noise is annoying; excessive noise can damage ears. Much before ears, the chances of heart are possible in blood pressure patients. People do not easily become accustomed to noise. The slightest unwanted sound can be very annoying if it continues for any length of time either continuous wave of repetitively pulsed manner. Crackers noise is seldom on national or individual festivals the continue noise nuisance concern are auto/motorcycle rickshaws, pressure horns, faulty vehicles, loud speakers and musical instruments, industrial/engineering workshops in urban areas especially stone grinding machines and metal cutting saws during construction/renovation days.

Typical effects of noise pollution include hearing loss, cardiovascular problems associated with accelerated heartbeat and high blood pressure, gastric-intestinal problems, decrease in alertness, decrease in ability to memorize, long lasting effects like insomnia, nervousness, bulimia, chronically high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and social life disruption. Noise may be reduced by Use of low pitch horns and effective silencer in vehicles, proper service and tuning of vehicles, four stroke engines instead of two stroke autos, adaptation of noise control systems in industries and avoid over use of loud speakers and sound systems [Punjab, 2018].

The term pollution means contamination of air, land or water by discharge or emission of effluents or wastes or air pollutants or noise or other matter which either directly or indirectly or in combination with other discharges or substances alters unfavorably the chemical, physical, biological, thermal or radiological or aesthetic properties of the air, land or water. Punjab Government mentions air, water, soil and noise pollutions. Any noise level more than 127dB for more than 1s and 130-140dB less than 1s is not permitted. There should be no noise beyond 140dB even for 0.001 second and we see repeater type fireworks create over 155dB noise for several seconds [Website 2018]
Permitted noise limit for residential areas is 45-50dB at night and 55-60dB daytime. School vans’ horns, motor bikes and water tankers produce 90 to 99dB noise. Maximum noise level in Islamabad and Pindi is 104dB and 108dB that is higher in some other cities. National standards do not allow vehicles to cause more than 85dB noise which blow 120dB pressure horns. Presence of schools in residential areas is a constant source of noise pollution. Phony guys press horn instead of doorbell.

Noise patterns of common firecrackers

Threshold of audible noise damage is 130dB that is sensation threshold of inaudible infrasonic noise. You might have noted your door shivering with inaudible water tanker noise. There are many audible and inaudible noise sources in environment which need a law to regulate them. Corrupt people give their haram money to their children to cause nuisance for neighbors. In the absence of any law the parents and teachers should play their role. Punjab Government has made pollution control laws the same may be implemented in Islamabad, KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan.

This universe is theorized to have been evolved with a big explosion (Big Bang) and is likely to end with a big implosion (Big Crunch). Modern civilization has created many issues like air and noise pollution which earlier generations had not at all. Mobiles and firecrackers have become the hobbies of lower middle class Z-Gen children in developing countries. Y and Z-Gen children are advised to cerebrate before you celebrate national events. Y and Z Gens are a headache for X Gen heart patients.
Human activities like fireworks affect humans, animals and plants on land and underwater traffic affects marine species. It is big crime to not let anyone sleep peacefully.


OLX, https://www.olx.com.pk/all-results/q-fireworks/ ,14 August 2018
FP Staff, Pollution levels spike across India on Diwali: Air quality in Delhi, Mumbai better than 2016 but is still 'poor', First Post, 20 October 2017. https://www.firstpost.com/india/pollution-levels-spike-across-india-on-diwali-air-quality-in-delhi-mumbai-better-than-2016-but-is-still-poor-4158329.html

Catherine S, Everyday noises may cause increased risk of heart disease, experts say, ABC News, 5 February 2018, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/everyday-noises-increased-risk-heart-disease-experts/story?id=52858912

David R, How traffic noise may contribute to heart disease , Medical News Today, 12 February 2018
Thomas M, Frank PS, Sebastian S, Johannes H, Andreas D, Mette S, Environmental Noise and the Cardiovascular System, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 71, February 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.12.015
TNN, Toxic gases emitted by firecrackers harmful for asthma patients: Experts, The Times of India, 3November 2013, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Toxic-gases-emitted-by-firecrackers-harmful-for-asthma-patients-Experts/articleshow/25151436.cms
Punjab Government, Noise Pollution, https://epd.punjab.gov.pk/noise_pollution
Website, https://www.noisehelp.com/noise-dose.html accessed 14 August 2018

Source:Ocnus.net 2020

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