Monday, October 12, 2015

3 tech-savvy kids campaign against the noise nuisance

Trio maps city decibel levels, prepares tables based on their findings

MUMBAI: When 11- year- old Sahil Parab stepped out with his parents on the last day of Ganeshotsav celebrations to witness various processions heading towards immersion sites, he could not stand the noise.
He asked his father for his smartphone, opened a noisemeasuring app and found that the decibel levels were touching 100dB. “The loudspeakers and DJ’s sets sent vibrations through my body, while drunk people were dancing all around me. It felt like I was partially deaf,” said Parab adding, “I showed my parents the readings and persuaded them to head home.”
The growing noise levels had been a concern playing on his mind even before the Ganeshotsav began. To bring forth the need to turn down the volume, Parab, along with two 12 year olds – Harsh Mhadadlkar and Anirudh Chowdhury – recorded noise levels of 12 locations during Dahi Handi and 10 locations during Ganeshotsav.
The children – all residents of BDD chawl in Lower Parel – took up the task as part of a research project guided by Reniscience Education, an organisation that works with children outside the classroom.
“These children prepared tables and recorded noise levels during the morning, evening and night. We were surprised with their findings,” said Sangita Kapadia, their teacher from Reniscience Education.
The trio also met Sumaira Abdulali, convener, NGO Awaaz Foundation, to learn how to use noise meters. “We put together a set of questions for Sumaira ma’am and wanted to know how noise meters are used. We also asked her about how the city has been divided into silence and residential zones and how complaints can be filed at police stations,” said Mhadadlkar.
Implementing the format they read in newspapers, the trio took down readings in their notebooks and compared them to what was published over the 10 days of the festival. “We downloaded a decibel meter application on our teacher’s phone and found that noise from dhols, DJ sets and loudspeakers measured high on the meter,” said Mhadadlkar.
Abdulali explained to them how noise complaints could also be filed online on various social media websites. “These children have the ability, interest and enthusiasm to do something even the police could not. They have set an example of how citizens can be proactive,” said Abdulali, adding, “I am very impressed with them and hope to mentor them in future.”
In the coming week, the boys will accompany volunteers from the NGO to take noise readings during the 10-day Navratri festival.

Source: The Hindustan Times dated 12/10/2015

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