The Mumbai police may have a remedy.
The Mumbai traffic police, nonprofit Awaaz Foundation and the Indian Medical Association have launched an anti-honking campaign called horn flu to cut down on the noise vehicles cause and to spread awareness about how much the noise from your vehicle horn could hurt you.
The campaign comes at a time Mumbai recorded a drop in noise levels during Diwali — from 113.5 decibel this year, against 2015’s 123.1 db.
The traffic police, which has already registered more than 12,000 cases of incessant and unexplained honking in the past couple of months, have now been asked to continue the crackdown with a drive that flagged off on Monday.
“Motorists indulge in unnecessary honking. People should know it is bad and has side effects on health. These rules should be followed in and around silence zones and residential patches. Most times, honking is unnecessary,” said Dattatray Padsalgikar, Mumbai police commissioner.
The campaign will involve school students to spread awareness at traffic junctions using placards. Officials said awareness campaigns in schools before Diwali actually got many students to stay away from firecrackers this year.
Sumaira Abdulali of the Awaaz Foundation said, “We consider honking a health issue, and that needs to be cured. The slump in noise levels during Diwali was a big relief, with Mumbai being low on noise and air pollution compared to several other cities. Now, we expect the same from motorists, to cut down on honking.”
The police had used decibel metres to measure noise levels even during Ganpati and Navratri festivals this years.
Doctors said exposure to high levels of noise causes several health issues. “Excessive noise from sources such as honking can cause various health problems related to the heart, mental health and can even lead to cancer,” said Dr John Panicker, national coordinator of Indian Medical Association’s Safe Sound Initiative.
The campaign is not timebound and will continue as long as it is needed to make it effective, officials said.