Asia Noise News

Mumbai India: Maximum city, maximum noise

“Noise is more than just a nuisance. It constitutes a real and present danger to people’s health. Plenty of medical data is also available to suggest that noise has several ill-effects, which are unseen and hence unnoticed,” recorded a Supreme Court judgment on July 18, 2005.

Sixteen years after the law was enacted under Noise Rules, 2000, that demarcated permissible limits for residential areas and silence zones, a latest study by the Central Pollution Control Board found that noise rules continue to be flouted in all major cities – the maximum in Mumbai.

Regular noise monitoring between 2011 and 2014 at 35 locations across nine metropolitan Indian cities found that noise at four out five stations at Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane exceeded permissible limits set by the law (See box).

According to experts, motor vehicles, horns and sirens used during construction is the most common source of noise pollution in Mumbai. Movement of aircraft and trains, and industrial machinery are major sources of noise, as are outdoor appliances such as generators and indoor appliances such as and air-conditioners.
“In cities like Mumbai with tall buildings, narrow streets and heavy traffic, the noise reverberates and its impact is manifold. We also observed an increase in noise levels during festivities at different intervals during the year,” said AK Sinha, CPCB scientist, who supervised the study.

A detailed study carried out by NGO Awaaz Foundation in 2015 for noise generated from different vehicles in the city, two-wheelers showed average noise levels up to 90dB, while the maximum permissible level is 75dB. Three-wheelers such as autorickshaws showed consistent noise levels between 77 dB and 85 dB as against 77dB, passenger cars, including taxis up to 80-82 dB with permissible levels of 75dB, and trucks between 80–95dB as against 82dB.

“There is an urgent need to sensitise people about the ill-effects of noise and the government needs to undertake a comprehensive noise map of Mumbai,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation.

MPCB officials highlighted that noise rules are being flouted owing to a lack of knowledge among law enforcement officials. “The Mumbai police have not enforced stricter regulations at different locations because they do not understand the difference between silence and commercial zones. A rigorous training programme is required for police officers at all levels to understand the impact of noise,” said a senior official from the MPCB.

Environmentalists said the state government or the police were not treating noise pollution as a serious violation under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, that levies heavy penalties up to Rs1 lakh, imprisonment up to five years or both. “Penalties like these will go a long way in controlling the problem in Mumbai,” said Dr Yeshwant Oke, who registered the first case in Mumbai against noise pollution. “Police officers are still following the Bombay Police Act, charging meagre penalties of Rs5,000 for noise violators.”

Officers from the Mumbai police told HT that over the past two years, policemen across the city have been trained to use noise measuring devices and implement necessary action as per noise rules. “We have been tying up with several NGOs and residents from the city to conduct workshops for police officers,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, DCP (crime) and spokesperson, Mumbai police. “Over the next year, we will be carrying out several campaigns to make Mumbai a quieter city.”

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/

Asia Noise News

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: nanotechnology research reduces low-frequency noise irritations

HKUST nanotechnology research reduces low-frequency noise irritations

In Professor Ping Sheng’s world of nano-science research, the relationship between a manometer and a single human blood cell is similar to the relationship between a kilometer and a millimeter. The research work is never predictable, and is frustrating at times. But it’s always exhilarating, says Sheng, who is the Dr William M.W. Mong chair professor of nano-science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Nanotechnology, which is the science of extremely small things, was first discussed in the late 1950s. Sheng says the discipline has now evolved to the stage where many objects in daily use, such as microchips, have been miniaturized to the sub-100 manometer scale. “From scientific wishful thinking, we have moved to commercialization, and the discovery of new nano materials that provide a vast range of applications,” says Sheng, who joined the HKUST in1994.

Studying the behavior and application of extremely small things has become much broader now that nano elements that consumers don’t notice are embedded in commonplace products, he adds. “These days, if you say you work in nano research, people just say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting’. So you have to be more specific. That’s a good thing, because it shows nanotechnology has become part of the mainstream.”

Sheng’s nano-physics research, which involves the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale, led to the discovery of resonant sonic materials that break the mass density law in shielding low frequency sound. Put simply, the professor’s discovery can be used to produce materials to absorb or block low-frequency sounds produced by construction sites, railroads, airports, diesel turbines, electric transformers, and even the low-frequency hum produced by green energy producing windmills.

“The material is almost one 100 per cent efficient ageist protection against even the most pernicious low-frequency sounds,” explains the professor. The World Health Organisation recognizes the special position of low-frequency noise as an environmental problem, particularly to sensitive people in their homes. Materials made from the professor’s research discovery can also be used to improve indoor acoustic quality, provide sound proofing, and absorb the low frequency noise made by fans.

Regulators around the world are becoming less tolerant of industries and products that produce low frequency noise, Sheng says, so the demand for low-frequency sound absorbing materials is expected to grow. Discussions are currently taking place between the HKUST and a private company with a view to commercializing the professor’s discovery.

Sheng has also turned his attention to the electromagnetically (ER) effect in suspensions of particles, or the process of applying electricity to certain nano particles in liquids that turn them into a solid form in a matter of milliseconds. The process has been proposed as a method of constructing shock absorbers on magnetically levitated trains.

“At first, our findings produced material with the consistency of tofu,” Sheng says. “But further research led to the discovery of a common molecule found in fertilizer and plants, which has viscosity-changing qualities that turns liquids into solid plastic-like substances.” electricity is applied, the material becomes a “smart” material which can be used in robotic hands to actuate cause small movements. Sheng’s nano particle technology has been licensed to a Hong Kong company with a production line in Shenzhen. He has also initiated and the effort that led to the solution of minimum energy dissipation, the classical problem of moving contact line in immiscible flows, by using the Onsager’s principle.

Sheng decided he wanted to become a scientist at an early age. During his elementary school years, he was inspired by Chinese-born American physicist Lee Tsung-dao, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957 with (Franklin) Yang Chen-ning. At university, he took courses given by Richard Feynman, the father of nanotechnology. Sheng also attended courses by theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Although he shrugs off the suggestion he is a source of inspiration for his students, Sheng says he gets immense satisfaction from mentoring them. Sometimes learns from them, too, he says. Sheng says that HKUST motivates him to to pursue scientific inquiry, ask the bigger questions, and never be deterred from overcoming a challenge to provide clarity. “There are frustrations, but that’s what research involves,” says Sheng. “Nature never cheats you, so you need to keep looking for solutions.”

Sheng says HKUST consistently attracts high-caliber students, and has a first-class faculty to conduct world-class research. That’s the key to successful scientific research, he adds. Sheng cites the advantage that comes from HKUST research proposals becoming known to the international community.

“If a proposal is not up to an international level, it will be rejected,” says Sheng, adding that this keeps HKUST research activities in the global arena, and ensures the quality remains high. “The success rate of HKUST’s proposals reflect the quality of the research work undertaken by the university,” notes Sheng.

Sourcee: http://www.lettersfromthailand.com/

Asia Noise News

Cambodia, Siem Riep, Calls for ‘shhh’ in noisy Pub Street

Siem Reap hospitality businesses have called for action to address noise issues around Pub Street they say are affecting the city’s appeal to more lucrative tourists.

The Cambodia Hotel Association collected letters from the businesses and forwarded them to Siem Reap provincial governor Khim Bun Song this week asking him to enforce existing noise pollution laws.

The letters were gathered on the advice of the Ministry of Tourism as part of a consultation exercise in conjunction with the Cambodia Tourism Federation and Government-Private Sector Forum Tourism.

Carrol Sahaidak-Beaver, executive director of the CHA, said: “We were asked by the Ministry of Tourism to identify specific details on where there were issues so they could take action.” Sahaidak-Beaver did not say how many letters were submitted, but said that they identified specific areas, venues and time frames.

Cambodian anti-noise pollution laws specify noise levels in mixed commercial and service areas should not exceed 65 decibels between 6pm and 10pm, and 50 decibels from 10pm until the following morning. Daytime noise in such areas is permitted up to 70 decibels. Fifty decibels is equivalent to the sound of a dishwasher in an adjacent room.

On most nights along Pub Street after 10pm, dance music thumps from Angkor What? Bar and Temple Club, while live bands clang and caterwaul upstairs at Beer Battle and Triangle. Further along, karaoke singers bawl out of Corner Bar, startling diners in nearby restaurants who strain to catch each other’s conversations over cooling plates of fish amok.

Local business owners complain that with the noise, the lights and streets overrun with drinks carts, the overall impression is less than dignified, and their businesses are suffering as a result. They also feel that in a city dependent on cultural tourism driven by the temples of Angkor, the atmosphere is incongruous.

In common with many that Post Weekend spoke to, the owner of one well-established business in the area, who wished to remain anonymous, feels that Pub Street has lost its charm.

“The impression now is that of a cheap Kao San Road [the notoriously tawdry Bangkok backpacker district]. It’s disorganised, overcrowded, dirty, and a deafening loud, chaotic mess,” he said.

Caught between the competing dins, he is losing business as a result as diners choose to take their business where they can actually hear one another speak.

Sahaidak-Beaver agrees. “Pub Street is a condensed area that frankly is losing its value just for that reason,” she said. “The excitement of a lot going on struggles against the increasing middle to upper-middle class tourist that does not want to be accosted by noise and conflicting entertainment.

I avoid Pub Street in that there is nowhere to sit where you aren’t hearing two or three or more other facilities. This is not fun.”

Martin Dishman, the owner of Linga Bar and Hotel Be, has watched guests check out after only one night in his three-room boutique hotel on The Passage.

“We have had many guests stay one night and flee the next day because they couldn’t handle the noise,” he said. “Once that got into reviews, people began to understand the location was noisy, but not everyone can deal with it. As a result, our business has suffered. Where I once had five hotel staff, I now have just two.”

The issue seems to have worsened over the years, in particular as competition between the two clubs at the top end of Pub Street has intensified.

Alex Sutherland, the owner of Angkor What? Bar, acknowledged that there was a problem, and said that he would like to see a resolution that allowed everyone to continue to enjoy themselves while respecting other businesses.

“I’d like to see the clubs closed off, so that the sound is contained inside where you can play as loud as you like without disturbing anyone on the street,” he said.

Post Weekend contacted Temple Club for a comment but were told that the owners were not available.

Sahaidak-Beaver said the CHA and its members wanted the existing law to be enforced, not just for the benefit of their members but also for the general public.

“This is just not about our businesses,” she said. “It is about children sleeping, it is about the effect on families, it is about the decibels that are destroying hearing. We need to be concerned about this.

“I think it is time for these facilities to recognize the right of individual facilities to ensure the right of enjoyment in each one.”

Another business owner whose trade has also been affected, and who wished to remain anonymous, echoed the view of many in hoping that action may soon be taken.

“I think that the local authorities understand the need for this area to attract a wide range of tourists and that Siem Reap’s economy is very dependent on cultural tourism.

“I think everyone is working to make Siem Reap a more distinguished destination. We have recently had the new code of conduct for the temples, the beautification of the riverside and a number of international accolades, and I hope that noise pollution will be addressed shortly.”

Source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/post-weekend/calls-shhh-noisy-pub-street