Viewers of good cinema will remember ‘Silent movie,’ a film which had no dialogues; but only background score. Since there were no verbal exchanges between its characters, it had to rely upon expressions and body movements similar to Charlie Chaplin films. The film was about a director who in an effort to salvage a film making studio from being taken over by another studio heavyweight; plans a silent movie. The year was 1976 when this movie was made; now it’s 2019. Considering the alarming increase in the noise level, ‘silent movie’ works as a metaphor and unfortunately, noise is taking over silence.
A lot has been said about noise pollution and how it has been affecting people. We also hear about some people experiencing deafness; that too at an early age. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) data, Guangzhou, China is the overall noisiest in the world. And Cairo, Paris, Beijing, Delhi, Mexico City, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Rome, Singapore are next in line. Noise pollution is a threat not only for humans; for wildlife too. The sound is an essential medium for marine organisms to communicate, navigate, mate and find food. For them, noisy environments can be distracting and disorienting. Even more tragic fact is that the songbirds have fled from the cities to find newer habitats where they can hear each other to mate.
Many countries are tackling this global issue; however, in India, it has been falling on deaf ears of the authorities and people alike.
India is known as a country of religious inclinations, and most occasions are celebrated publicly with massive sound systems blaring to glory and political leaders giving never-ending speeches on loudspeakers. There are guidelines for noise standards in India, but they are blatantly ignored. India must initiate quiet zones, reduce traffic noise and exercise control on public address systems and loudspeakers.
Ongoing constructions, especially in urban cities, is yet another noise-making activity. Gigantic equipment is employed for such, and they make deafening noise which causes disturbance, and in some cases; partial deafness.
Excessive noise interferes with people’s daily activities at schools, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep and disrupt routine life.
It’s time all of us reduce the noise and increase the level of awareness about noise pollution.
By Chandrashekhar Marathe
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