PUNE: The State government has revised silence zones of Pune city. Earlier, there was more than 1,195 silence zones declared by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) based on norms of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). However, last year, the Central government made amendments in the Pollution Act according to which the state has to notify the silence zones. Now, the State has notified 121 silence zones in the city.
On Wednesday, a Mumbai High Court division bench of Justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagala directed the State government to notify silence zones so that they can ensure that noise pollution rules are strictly followed ahead of the festive season. On this basis, the State government sent a notification to the PMC.
Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer of the PMC said, “The State government sent a notification in June to the PMC mentioning 121 silence zones. It has come down from 1,195 to 121. It might be the first list of silence zones of the State government. Most of the zones were already included in the earlier list of the PMC. Now, we will place Silence Zone boards in those areas.”
The PMC declared 1,195 silence zones in the city which were mentioned in the 2015-16 Environmental Status Report (ESR). It includes 687 schools, 230 colleges, 201 hospitals and 77 courts.
The new notification mentions names of colleges, hospitals and schools. Core areas (peth) have maximum silence zones. Nagar Road, Wanawadi, Koregaon Park, Yerawada, Katraj, Kothrud, Karve Nagar, Aundh, Swargate, Karve Road, Deccan Gymkhana, and Warje are included in silence zones.
Ashish Mane, civic activist said, “The PMC should conduct a review of silence zones that have been skipped by the State government. After monitoring it, the PMC should send a letter to the State to incorporate areas which have been omitted. Pollution is a major problem in the city as vehicles are increasing, leading to air and noise pollution. The corporation should take some steps to curb or control it.”
Earlier, the State issued an order on November 20, 2017, that all municipal corporations and local self-bodies should follow guidelines as mentioned in the order and carry them out before November 25, 2017.
Sachin Punekar, environmentalist and botanist attached to city-based non-governmental organisation Biosphere said, “Noise pollution is not only harmful to humans but also to animals. So, our organisation is carrying out a survey on the areas’ animal habitat. Rajiv Gandhi Zoo, Pashan Lake, Mula-Mutha riverside bird sanctuary, Vaikunth crematorium, Mrityunjaya temple area, Sarasbaug area are some place where we found birds and animals.”
He said, “The State government should disclose parameters on which they notify silence zones in the city. There are hospitals, colleges and courts mentioned in the list. What about schools? Another thing is that only prominent establishments have been included in the list.”