Exposure to honking can ruin your hearing
City traffic sounds (noise of engines of trucks, cars) from inside of a closed vehicle are about 85-90 decibels, which is ofcourse within permissible limits as long as one hears it for about 8 hours a day. But honking creates sounds of 110 decibels and above, depending on the horn. And a human being cannot tolerate this decibel level for more than half an hour a day. If the sound is above 115db, 15 minutes is the maximum. Exposure for longer periods leads to gradual hearing loss. Those who live in high traffic areas are the worst sufferers.
Sound baffles to absorb sound pollution are at best just a band-aid solution and plus they cost. The best medicine is prevention. Stopping the honking!
The Mumbai Traffic Police conducted a no-honking day in Mumbai, a first of its kind, but it was only partially successful due to the crowded roads jampacked with pedestrians. A lack of walking space (pavements being taken over by hawkers) means that pedestrians cannot avoid walking on the roads. It’s also quite impossible for them to constantly keep looking behind them to see if a vehicle is coming. Mostly they have become quite inured to vehicles and move only if they are forced to.
However the Traffic Police is not giving up and is going ahead full steam with their no-honking awareness campaign. After all, motorists honk as a reflex action now, whether its needed or not.
They’ve managed to get a fleet of 20 taxis called For She (run entirely by women) and 70 male drivers of the cab service ‘GOLD CAB’ in Mumbai to take an an oath yesterday that they SHALL NOT honk (unless when absolutely necessary). This is a picture of the For She bravehearts sent to me by the Mumbai Traffic Police (I subscribe to their newsletter):
This gif image is part of the campaign of the traffic police. (wait for a few seconds and it will take you to the next one:
Mumbai may have the lowest number of vehicles amongst the metros, but I’m sure that when it comes to vehicle density it will score very high as road space is limited…in fact there is only 1.92 m of road for every 1 car! It’s a good thing Mumbaikars are not buying as many cars as their fellow citizens in other cities are buying! I am sure one of the reasons for this is that there is no space to park them. And also because of slow traffic movement.
Here are the number of vehicles city-wise (statistics from Bangalore Buzz):
Delhi: 48,09,000 vehicles
Bangalore: 31,06,564 vehicles
Chennai: 30 lakh vehicles
Hyderabad with 17.64 lakh
Mumbai: 15 lakh
(Photograph is by me and taken in Pune.)
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