Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday is No Honking Day in Bangalore - Horn not OK

November 29 will be a 'No Honking' day. So you'd better take your finger off that horn. A group of volunteers will be going around places educating people about indiscriminate honking and its effects.

Techie Bala Venkat and his team have got together around 500 volunteers for their campaign "No Honk Please".

They will start the event by tagging stickers on vehicles and holding a road show. It will be flagged off from the Nokia office.

Among pollution concerns of air, water, land, and noise, the noise pollution is the one that has the potential for the most damage to humans and wildlife. It is a hidden health hazard that impacts our physical, psychological and intellectual well-being. There is so much noise around, but unlike our eyes, we can't shut our ears.

Louder than a jet

The increasing number of vehicles has made Bangalore one of the noisiest cities. Various studies show that the decibel level of traffic is increasing by the day, and has crossed the maximum permissible limit (on any road, it is 80 decibels); sometimes it's even louder than a jet taking off.

"Other then debilitating physical and psychological effects, noise pollution can result in decreased learning capacity, memory loss, poor language skills, decreased speech development, decreased academic performance and decreased cognitive ability. Damage to health begins at 75 db. Hearing damage begins at 90 db and can be permanent with one exposure of 120 db or more," says Bala.

Besides warnings by the World Health Organization, the Supreme Court had also passed an order directing all state governments to initiate action against noise pollution. The Union ministry of environment had asked the states to forward an action taken report, compiling details on the measures initiated to curb the menace.

Mission peace

"But the government has done nothing in this direction. So we started the 'Mission Peace Bangalore' Our primary goal is to reduce noise pollution levels caused by honking and autos/bikes that remove or tamper with their silencers," says Siddalingam Prasad, who also works for this cause. Schoolchildren, BMTC and auto rickshaw drivers and others will be educated on the use of horns. ENT experts will speak about the side effects of noise pollution.

"I think instead of telling the people to stop making noise, we need to take it to a higher level and ask companies like Bajaj and Tata to come up with less noisy engines. The autos need to have silencers. It is mainly the driver who is affected so it is important that something is done to curb this problem," says Leo Saldanha, environmentalist.


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