Honking during peak hours on city roads a health hazard
Indiscriminate honking during a 25-km peak-hour journey from Bandra to Fort exposes Mumbaiites to the noise levels of a food processor kept on for around two hours continuously.
A study by the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) found commuters are subjected to noise levels of more than 90 decibels (dB) daily because of honking.
The study also found that those driving or travelling in motorised vehicles in Mumbai are exposed to more than 70dB – equivalent to the noise levels of a vacuum cleaner — for 50% of the commute time. And when a vehicle is stuck in a traffic jam, a commuter is exposed to an average noise level of more than 67dB — equivalent to a conversational speech – because of horns, engine noises and adjacent vehicles.
According to the law, recommended noise levels during the day for a vehicle are 75dB in industrial areas, 65dB in commercial areas, 55dB in residential areas and 50dB in silence zones.
Studies have shown that in addition to hearing impairment, long-term exposure to traffic noise can impact a person’s sleep cycle, lead to high blood pressure, irregularity of heart rhythm, stress, irritability and reduce productivity.
“Commuting is a daily activity in Mumbai, higher than any other city in the country, as a result of which commuters are bound to be exposed to excessive noise during travel,” said Nagendra R Velaga, assistant professor, civil engineering department, IIT-B.