A nationwide campaign against noise pollution has been initiated by the Indian Medical Association along with the launch of an initiative, ‘Horn Flu’, with Awaaz Foundation, a Mumbai-based NGO. The campaign looks to projecting the habit of honking on Indian roads as a ‘disease’ that drivers need to get rid of.
Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation, said this is part of the multiple campaigns to create awareness about the ill effects of noise. “We want to ensure that people are informed about the harmful effects of noise on the human body. The issue of noise needs to be looked not as nuisance but through its larger effects on our vital organs due to sustained exposure,” Abdulali said.
Another initiative includes a campaign called ‘Tell the Driver’ in partnership with traffic policemen in the city since they are the enforcement body, Abdulali added.
So far, though there have been efforts to set a standard for vehicle horns in the country, its implementation is yet to be enforced. The National Green Tribunal which has been hearing a petition on this issue had directed the Union government to have a regulation at both the manufacturing levels and delivery points by carmakers as well as at the Regional Transport Offices for monitoring.
A consultative meeting of various authorities at the central and state governments’ level has been scheduled later this month at the NGT.
Dr John Panicker, IMA national coordinator of the initiative ‘National Initiative of Safe Sound’, said so far, though the focus has been on loudspeakers, the regular noise created on Indian roads through honking is a cause of concern.
“One of the reasons for permanent damage is noise-induced hearing loss, which can be caused due to sustained exposure to even noise levels of even 50-60 decibels. Though there have been very few scientific studies in India to show the effect of noise on vital health organs, there are studies done in other countries which show the correlation of damage caused to cardie-vascular systems as well as the brain due to noise,” Panicker told The Indian Express.
He added that they have begun at least three studies in Kerala to map noise, to find the effect of noise on lifestyle diseases and the effect of noise pollution on deafness. “We are hopeful to do a similar study in metropolitan cities, including Mumbai,” he said.