Noise Pollution

  • Any unwanted sound that causes annoyance, irritation and pain to human ear is termed noise. It is measured in A-weighted decibels (dB (A)) that indicate loudness of sound.
  • Noise level refers to decibel levels of noise produced by any appliance or machine. In general, human ear can tolerate noise levels up to 85 db. Anything beyond that can affect human productivity & quality of life.
  • Decibel levels of common sounds above 80 dB are considered loud, while decibel levels of common sounds between 100-125 dB are termed uncomfortable.
  • All machines operating in an area should produce noise within acceptable level to maintain well-being of people around.

Permissible noise level in India

  • CPCB has laid down permissible noise levels in India for different areas. Noise pollution rules have defined acceptable level of noise in different zones for both daytime and night-time.
  • In industrial areas, the permissible limit is 75 dB for daytime and 70 dB at night.
  • In commercial areas, it is 65 dB and 55 dB, while in residential areas it is 55 dB and 45 dB during daytime and night, respectively.
Category of Area / ZoneLimits in Leq dB(A)
Day Time*Nighttime**
Industrial area7570
Commercial area6555
Residential area5545
Silence/Sensitive Zone5040
*Daytime shall mean 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. **Nighttime shall mean 10:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M.

Regulations for Noise Pollution

  • Earlier, noise pollution & its sources were addressed under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • Noise pollution is currently regulated under Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.
  • Additionally, noise standards for motor vehicles, air-conditioners, refrigerators, diesel generators and certain types of construction equipment are prescribed under Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.
  • Noise emanating from industry is regulated by State Pollution Control Boards/Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs /PCCs) for state/UTs under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Impacts of Noise Pollution

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Physiological and psychological stress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Cardiovascular & metabolic disorders such as elevated blood pressure, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. 
  • Premature deaths and congestive heart failure
  • Increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes & hypertension. 


These rules lay down such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit use of loud speakers or public address systems during night hours (between 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight) on or during any cultural or religious festive occasion.

Following are the salient features of the amendment:

  • In the heading ‘PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM’ the words ‘AND SOUND PRODUCING SYSTEMS’ shall be inserted.
  • A loudspeaker or any sound producing system or a sound amplifier shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication within like auditorium, conference rooms, community halls, banquet halls or during public emergency.
  • The noise level at the boundary of the public place where loudspeaker or public address system is being used the sound should not exceed 10dB above the ambient noise standards of that area or 75dB whichever is less.
  • No horn shall be used in silence zones or residential areas at night except in emergency situations.
  • Sound emitting construction equipment shall not be operated during night.
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