The winter capital of Jammu is getting really noisy. According to a survey by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), the pollution in the city has reached “alarming levels” mainly due to loud traffic noise.

The week-long survey was done on various traffic areas around the city under the supervision of Shally Ranjan, the regional director. The study reported that the average noise levels exist between 74.80 dB and 81.28 dB while the average permissible level is 65 dB for commercial areas.

The study also reported that Indira Chowk in the heart of the city recorded 74.80 dB noise level followed by medical college at Bakshi Nagar at 75.88 dB, Panama Chowk (76.87 dB), Narwal Chowk (78.73 dB), Amphalla Chowk (79.31 dB), Gumat Chowk (81.06 dB), Gandhi Nagar opposite Army Gate (81.25 dB) and Satwari Chowk (81.28 dB).

“Jammu city is fast turning into a city of noise pollution especially due to rise in vehicular population. Levels of noise pollution in the city has reached alarming proportions,” the SPCB official said. “It is assumed that people of all age groups can fast experience a dip in quality of hearing power and some in old age groups are getting exposed to health hazards like anxiety, hypertension and depression due to the constant and agonising noise around.”

“What is compounding the already grave problem is the smoke released by these vehicles. In a similar drive by the SPCB with traffic police recently, 264 vehicles were intercepted, out of which 85 were fined for not having valid pollution under check certificates. Huge smoke and sounds produced by knocking of outdated engines are increasingly becoming unbearable,” he added.

The pollution is resulted not only by the continuous honking of the cars but also due to the use of outdated and ill-fixed vehicles. Strong action by the administration is needed to curb the menace.

“The local administration along with the traffic police need to prepare a task force to identify the noise causing automobiles and grossly polluting vehicles and weed them out to save the environment,” Rajan added.