Wednesday, November 26, 2008

City to go horn free on Dec. 1

City to go horn free on Dec. 1
BY AMIT S. UPADHYE
BENGALURU







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About 70 per cent of autorickshaws in the city produce more noise than they are permitted to.
December 1 could come as a relief for those looking for some peace and quiet on the city’s roads. The police has in association with Mission Peace, an NGO, declared it a No Honking Day.

The idea is to create awareness among people that the noise levels in the city are rising at an alarming rate. According to a survey, the city makes 20 decibels more noise than permissible.

Ms Sunita D’Souza, who heads Mission Peace — Stop the Noise, says a recent survey by the organization found that autorickshaws contribute hugely to the noise pollution because many of them do not have silencers that work.

Consequently, about 70 per cent of autorickshaws in the city produce more noise than they are permitted.

The campaign will target the nearly 80,000 registered autorickshaws to make them aware of the need to cut down the noise they are making. “Even when we held the sound recording device about a foot away from an autorickshaw, the decibel levels were alarming. An autorickshaw is allowed to make noise as loud as 80 decibels. But a large number of them touch between 80 and 100 decibels. The noise they make affects not only the people, but the drivers themselves,” Ms D’Souza explains.

Ms Radhika Poovaiah, director of Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing says it is high time the police was serious about curbing noise pollution in the city.

“The noise levels in residential areas touch 70 decibels and in business areas they go up to 90 decibels, whereas the prescribed levels are 55 and 70 decibels respectively,” she says. The police and the NGO plan to launch an awareness campaign across the city in the days leading to December 1 to prepare commuters to observe the No Honking Day. Director general and inspector general of police R. Srikumar will launch the awareness campaign on November 26. Volunteers holding placards talking about the consequences of noise pollution will interact with commuters at major junctions to prepare them for the day when they will be required to stop honking like everyone else.

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