Anti-noise pollution activist Sumaira Abdulali has written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Chief seeking that the Nargis Dutt Road in Bandra West, where she resides, be declared as a Silence Zone and a No-Honking Zone. This has come after the BMC failed to take any concrete steps to begin re-notifying silence zones in the city, four months after the Maharashtra State Government de-notified all the existing silence zones of Mumbai.Explaining her stand she said that under the existing Noise Pollution and Motor Vehicles Rules, citizens can apply to have their residential or mixed areas be declared as Silence Zones/No-Honking Zones.”I have recommended this road as its a residential area and the people living in various buildings here including me are getting affected by the high decibel levels and hence I have decided to take a lead. I have also made it clear that this should be done after proper consultation with the residents living here,” stated Abdulali. She has been urging citizens to make similar applications to the BMC for a declaration of their areas as Silence Zones/No Honking Zones and that authorities should realise that citizens need their silence zones back.As per State Government’s interpretation of the Noise Rules amended on August 10, 2017, silence zones earlier identified and declared by the BMC were no longer in operation as they had not been specifically notified by the State Government. “In the period from August 2017 till date, silence zones have remained unprotected and there is not even clarity about whether loudspeakers can be used or needs to be removed and in all there is lot of confusion, which has been causing great hardship to residents of Mumbai and making them vulnerable to health issues caused due to noise pollution,” shared Abdulali.Several other anti noise pollution activists also alleged that they have no clue about steps being taken by BMC doing about notifying silence and no honking zones in the city as the civic body seems to have completely forgotten about this issue.The silence zone rules were first implemented in September 2, 2003 after Bombay High Court ordered the police to verify and certify before granting any loudspeaker permissions in a Silence Zone as defined under the Noise Rules.Infact on July 18, 2005, the Supreme Court of India ordered other noise sources such as honking to be added to the prohibitions in Silence Zones. In February 2009, the Court ordered the Government to identify and put up Silence Zone boards within one week after which the Ward offices of the BMC identified more than 1200 Silence Zones in Mumbai and put up boards on site with the help of citizen groups.
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