TOI SOUNDS ALARM ON HONKING

New Delhi: The busy ITO stretch in Delhi, known for traffic snarls, registers an average of 74 decibels (dB) of sound each day , highest in the city. It is about 10 decibels over the permissible limit for commercial areas. A study reported by TOI earlier had showed Mumbai emerging as the noisiest city in the country , followed by Lucknow and Hyderabad. Delhi ranked fourth on the list. Environmentalists believe things will only get worse in the capital if people don’t pay heed, and the price to pay will be very high.

Ahead of TOI‘s No-Honking Drive on August 22, sensitization campaigns have begun in the city . One was held by NGO Manas Foundation for autorickshaw drivers at the Driver Training Institute in Burari this week. It began with a lecture on road safety and culminated with pamplets and stickers being distributed among the auto drivers.

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They were told about the ill-effects of noise pollution on human behaviour and health.Hypertension, high stress levels, hearing loss and sleep disturbances are some of the major health issues related to noise pollution. Studies show commuters may end up having a 20dB hearing loss in urban cities due to constantly being subjected to loud noise.

Similar drives will be conducted in a week-long campaign from August 15 to August 22 with the cooperation of Delhi Traffic Police. This will include distribution of no-honking stickers and workshops for drivers across the city . Children and volunteers will display placards and slogans in the city to create awareness about the menace of honking. They will also hand over roses to road users. Close to a hundred schools are expected to be involved in this drive. RWAs are being encouraged to reduce noise on stretches close to residential colonies.

“Constant honking or being exposed to high-intensity horns have a harmful effect on ear vacuums and need to be checked. There should be an agency to monitor the decibel levels of horns for different vehicles and stricter laws should apply to offenders. Only then will things change,” said Pramod Pandey of Manas Foundation. He added that workers at petrol pumps had been supporting the drive by putting stickers on cars to educate them about the harm that constant honking can cause.

Delhi Police will be assisting during the campaign with strict monitoring and challans to be enforced, especially in silence zones which of ten see honking rules violated.Busy stretches like the ITO and Delhi Gate crossings and the Barakhamba Road-Tolstoy Marg stretch are some of the places identified by Delhi Police which will see the presence of both volunteers and traffic officials. “Incessant honking throughout the day leads to sleep disturbance and stress. RTOs are now seizing vehicles which have been modified to produce high-decibel noise,“ said Satminder Singh, inspector, RTO Burari.

This article first appeared in The Times of India, Delhi Edition issue dated 13.08.2016

Author: Affanul.Haque@timesgroup.com

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