Monitoring of noise levels with smartphones a reality

Choked streets in the city are an ordeal, but commuters have to also put up with incessant and loud honking.While this may be a side-effect for commuters, it affects residents of arterial roads. The problem here lies not reporting such noisy environments, and by the time authorities are alerted, the noise may cease, and the complainant is left redfaced having to explain the cause.

However, anti-noise activists suggest a tech solution to this issue. With a plethora of free mobile applications (apps) available to monitor and record ambient noise levels, any person facing a noise-related issue can simply record the decibel level using their smartphone and report it. The apps show the level of noise in decibels (dB).

Talking about the self-monitoring of noise by residents, activist Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation in Mumbai said, “Nearly all these apps are very accurate. Using them, we advise citizens to take an image of the noise reading, call 100 and register a police complaint. We also want them to note the exact location, time, and date of the recording which they can then post to our social media page, to help form a noise map.“

Although this page is named Get Well Soon Mumbai, residents of Pune have also posted and messaged regarding the honking in their area, she stated.

“Noise-mapping can prove effective in monitoring noise levels across areas at different times in a city. We are trying to formulate a Citizens’ Noise Map, based on data that residents send us from their areas.We have received calls and messages from Pune’s residents about traffic noise in their areas, but no one has registered a complaint as yet,“ Abdulali said.

Last week, a division bench of Bombay high court had responded to PILs on noise issues by ordering the state to use noise mapping as a strategic tool in framing development plans and infrastructural projects. Pune-based audiologist and anti-noise committee member Dr Kalyani Mandke said such monitoring apps can be a boon for irate citizens.“Many-a-times, by the time a complaint is registered and police deployed to the problem area, the noise may have subsided. Hence, measuring it yourself at the right time and no ting the exact location can prove to be solid proof to back one’s complaint,“ she said.

“I have shown others who wish to report noise issues how to use such apps. There are many in the city who are using them including myself, but we do not have a compilation of this kind of data yet,“ Mandke said.

Source : TOI