Can you hear what silence has to say?

Viewers of good cinema will remember ‘Silent movie’, a film which had no dialogues; only background score. Since there were no verbal exchanges between its characters, it had to rely upon expressions and body movements similar to Charlie Chaplin films. The film was about a Director who, in an effort to salvage a film making studio from being taken over by another studio heavyweight; plans a silent movie. The year was 1976 when this movie was made, now it’s 2019. Considering the alarming increase in the noise level, ‘Silent movie’ works as a metaphor and unfortunately noise is taking over silence.

A lot has been said about noise pollution and how it has been affecting people. We also hear about some people experiencing deafness; that too at an early age. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, Guangzhou, China is the overall noisiest in the world. And Cairo, Paris, Beijing, Delhi, Mexico city, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Rome, Singapore are next in line.Noise pollution is a threat not only for humans; for wild life too. Sound is an important medium for marine organisms to communicate, navigate, mate and find food. For them, noisy environments can be distracting and disorienting. Even more heartbreaking fact is that the songbirds have fled from the cities to find newer habitats where they can actually hear each other in order to mate.

This global issue is being tackled by many countries, however in India it has been falling on deaf ears of the authorities and people alike.

India is known as a country of religious inclinations and most occasions are celebrated publicly with mammoth sound systems blaring to glory and political leaders giving never-ending speeches on loud speakers. There are guidelines for noise standards in India but they are blatantly ignored. India must initiate silent zones, reduce traffic noise and exercise control on public address systems and loud speakers.

Ongoing constructions especially in urban cities, is yet another noise making activity. Gigantic equipments are employed for such constructions and they make deafening noise which is causing disturbance, and in some cases; partial deafness.

Excessive noise interferes with people’s daily activities at schools, at work, at home and during leisurely time. It can disturb sleep and disrupt routine life.

It’s time all of us reduce the noise and increase the level of awareness about noise pollution.  

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