Sound check: This city in UP is world’s 2nd noisiest city, Delhi too on UN list

Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad has found a place on the world map but not for the right reasons. The United Nations Environment Programme’s latest report – that reveals interesting insights on noise pollution globally – has put the city on the second spot in the list of noisiest cities in the world.

On top of the list is Bangladesh’s Dhaka, and Islamabad in Pakistan is at the third spot – all top three cities are from South Asia. Other Indian cities where ear-splitting noises have been recorded – are Delhi, Kolkata and Asansol in Bengal, and Jaipur.

Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches, the report, puts together data and observations from top global cities including New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona among others.

According to the WHO guidelines, the report says, the permissible noise level limits are 55 dB (decibels) LAeq (equivalent continuous sound level is the sound level in decibels) for outdoor residential areas and 70 dB LAeq for commercial areas, and where there’s traffic .

Moradabad, one of India’s biggest export hubs, recorded 114 dB noise level, second only to Bangladesh’s Dhaka. The Bangladesh capital is known for its garment industry. Noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time can increase the risk of hearing loss, experts say.

The South-Asian region, comprising India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, is the most noise-polluted region while Europe and Latin America region are the quietest regions.

In Delhi, the noise levels have been found to be at 83 dB, and for Kolkata – 89 dB.

15 Most noise polluted cities in the world

Dhaka (Bangladesh) 119dB
Moradabad (India) 114dB
Islamabad (Pakistan) 105dB
Rajshahi (Bangladesh) 103dB
Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam) 103dB
Ibadan (Nigeria) 101dB
Kupondole (Nepal) 100dB
Algiers (Algeria) 100dB
Bangkok (Thailand) 99dB
New York (US) 95dB
Damascus (Syria) 94dB
Manila (Philippines) 92dB
Hong Kong (China) 89dB
Kolkata (India) 89dB
Asanol (India) 89dB

“Exposure to environmental noise sources such as road traffic, air traffic, railways, machinery, industry and recreational activities have well-documented negative impacts on physical and mental well-being,” the report says.

It also reveals interesting insights from global cities. Nine in 10 mass transit users in New York City are exposed to noise levels exceeding the recommended limit (of 70 dB), and may be at risk of irreversible hearing loss.

In Bogota, according to a study, “birds changed their singing behaviour in anticipation of the morning rush hour by starting to sing earlier at a site with heavy daytime traffic”.

Two in five residents in Hong Kong are exposed to road traffic noise above the permissible limit. More than half of the residents of large European cities live in areas where noise levels may adversely affect their health and well-being, the report underlines.


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