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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Monday, May 27, 2024

Silence, Please

By the Editor:

The crunching sound as a road roller passed over a number of modified silencers of two-wheelers crushing them beyond salvage would have sounded sweet to people tired of the noisy menace on the streets. The Shillong Traffic Police on December 13 made a public show of 181 seized modified exhaust pipes being crushed under the wheels of the road roller at the police reserve in the city. Out of 320 detected cases since January, 181 modified silencers were seized. This action of the police came after their request to owners of such vehicles to remove the modified silencers voluntarily fell on deaf ears. The police had started an operation against such silencers since last year following public outcry against the nuisance of noise generated by these silencers. Ironically, silencers are meant to silence the noise generated by the engine while throwing out hot flue gases from the combustion chamber. The technique of silencing the noise is to pass flue gases through the silencer and reduce the flow speed. Hence the noise gets silenced.

Noise is a sound that is unwanted, disagreeable, disturbing and unpleasant. As population increases and industrialisation progresses the world is steadily growing noisier leading to noise pollution because of the menace of prolonged unwanted and irritating sound. Scientists and physicians have gathered results that prove dangers of noise pollution resulting in temporary or permanent loss in hearing acuity besides causing loss of concentration, nervousness and fatigue, and interfering with sleep and rest. People exposed to continuous excessive noise may not realise that their hearing capacity will dwindle slowly which if unchecked and not properly medicated in time, may lead to partial deafness. Decibel is the most commonly used unit of sound measurement – normal breathing is about 10 decibels, rusting leaves about 20, a hoe at night when everyone is quietly asleep about 40, an office or working place about 70, and screeching subway train about 100. Safety level is generally described to be 85 decibels. People working in manufacturing centres are advised to wear well-fitted ear protectors or suitable ear-protection devices. People staying near airports face ear hazards which may lead to deafness.

Due to easy availability of car and two-wheeler loans there has been high increase of motor vehicles in the state over the years and which is still continuing resulting in traffic jams not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. Owners and drivers honk their cars sometimes non–stop in order to reach their destination in time which is not an easy task. Such incessant honking or horns create more chaos and deafening noise especially in towns and cities. The Shillong Traffic Police’s action in such ominous context deserves praise. What, however, seems to happen is that the momentum is often lost and everything returns to square one. The police must sustain the good deed started until the message is conveyed loud and clear that such unlawful activities as modifying silencers and creating a nuisance will not be tolerated.

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