If you drive around in Thane or hail an auto, there are chances you will spot a sticker ‘The More You Stop Honking, The More You Get Well’ pasted on the vehicle’s windshield.
As part of the campaign #TellTheDriver, not-for-profit Awaaz Foundation in partnership with the Thane traffic police on Tuesday distributed 4,000 stickers to about 60 leaders of about 20 autorickshaw unions and associations.
“The people most exposed to constant noise from traffic for long hours are auto drivers since their vehicles are open. As a result, auto drivers also tend to honk because they want to be heard over and above the din,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convener, Awaaz Foundation. “In addition to drivers, traffic policemen are among those most directly affected.”
A study of traffic policemen revealed that over 70% suffered significant hearing loss through constant exposure to noise over 80dB caused by traffic. According to doctors, exposure to high decibel noise causes hearing loss, high blood pressure, mental health illness and even cancer.
“Pasting stickers on no honking is an important initiative since we are exposed to continuous noise for at least 12 hours every day,” said Ganesh Bhoir, auto driver. “It’s the two-wheelers who honk the most and hence the RTOs must not permit them with the pressure horns. The four-wheelers also honk a lot, and it doesn’t make a difference to them since their window shades are rolled up and they sit with their air conditioners on.”
A Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) analysis found Mumbai to be the noisiest city in India after a series of regular ambient noise monitoring from 2011 to 2014 in a report released in February. While cities such as Lucknow, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai followed suit, Bangalore and Kolkata had the least number of violations.
Abdulali said the Thane traffic police will provide hoardings to create awareness on noise pollution, and posters will soon be distributed to educational institutions and housing societies in Thane.
“Noise has adverse effect on health, and most people blow horns unnecessarily. This needs to be stopped and can only come about through public awareness,” said PV Mathadhikari, assistant police commissioner of traffic police, Thane.
“Autos have a specific horn handle which is not very loud. However, pressure horns, reverse horns and musical horns are not permitted according to the law, and there should be no modifications made in the horns provided by vehicle manufacturers.”