KOCHI: Those who love to use horns indiscriminately will have to soon give the stretch on the MG Road from Madhav Pharmacy Junction to Maharaja's College metro station a wide berth.
The stretch will be declared a 'no horn zone' by KMRL managing director A P M Muhammed Haneesh at 9.30 am on April 26. Deputy Police Commissioner R Karuppusamy will be the chief guest of the function to be held at the metro parking at the Madhav Pharmacy Junction.
The initiative is being undertaken as a part of the IMA's No Horn Day (NHD). Its programme co-convener Dr M Narayanan said the bigger aim was to make Kochi free of noise pollution.
"At present Gangtok is the only city in India which has been declared a no-horn area. The rules are so stringent that if a person uses horn without cause he/she is fined
Rs 1,000," he said adding even though the Union Government had passed the Noise Pollution Control and Regulation Rules in 2000, nothing concrete has been done to make use of it to stifle the increasing decibel levels.
NHD programme convener Dr V D Pradeep said the plan was to make Kochi free of noise pollution by 2020.
As a part of the endeavour, the IMA, in association with the National Initiative for Safe Sound (NISS), has decided to launch a few projects.
"All these initiatives have the backing of the state government, Association of Otolaryngologists, Motor Vehicles Department and Police Department," he said adding the success of the campaigns held during the NHD in 2016 and 2017 has prompted the association to go ahead with the conduct of the day this year as well.
However, the target people are to be different this year.
"We've seen a considerable decrease in the usage of horns among those who drive cars and two-wheelers. But the same can't be said about private buses. They continue to defy decibel levels," Dr Pradeep said. Hence, this year the campaign has been drawn up keeping them in mind. "We've decided to conduct a study at three major junctions --- High Court Junction, Kaloor and Vyttila --- in the city. The sound levels at these places will be measured in the morning and evening using advanced equipment. The initiative will be undertaken on Friday and Saturday," he added.
He said since private bus drivers are the major contributors to sound pollution, it becomes imperative that they are made aware of the consequences.
"We've decided to conduct an audio testing camp at Kaloor bus stand on April 23 and 24 to gauge the hearing levels of the drivers there. Even the autorickshaw drivers will be tested," he said.
He blamed the air horns and electric horns for an increase in noise pollution. "The permissible decibels are 75 in industrial, 65 in commercial and 50 in residential areas. But in Kochi, the sound levels have blasted way past the limits, thanks to altered vehicles and irresponsible use of horns. The increased decibels cause harmful health problems like hypertension, increase in sugar levels and hearing loss," he said.