Honk­ing dur­ing peak hours on city roads a health haz­ard

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sne­hal Fer­nan­des sne­hal.fer­nan­des@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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