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Address noise pollution – editorials


Traffic in India is a famous and indomitable beast. His unmistakable call is the loud and angry sound of all kinds of vehicles. In a busy street, during office hours, the horn can rise to what has scientifically proven to be a health hazard. It is this noise pollution problem that the Mumbai police have found a new way to stop. They seem to have decided that if we don’t learn to honk on our own, hard love is the most viable solution. To this end, at least three intersections occupied in Mumbai, they dedicated themselves to installing “punishment signs”. Essentially, they attached a decibel meter to the traffic signal to measure the sound when the traffic light is red. As soon as the level reached 85 decibels (the level above which the sound is considered dangerous), the signal restores the red light, making the wait even longer.

The innovative idea became an advertising video. Tweeting “Horn is not right, please!” And using the hashtag #HonkResponsibly, the Mumbai police published the video that showed how people reacted to this punishment signal. “Feel free to honk,” the voiceover tells us when the video ends, “that is, if you don’t mind waiting.” The video is smart and fun, and addresses the real problem of noise pollution in our cities. The World Health Organization has shown that noise can contribute to diseases, with effects such as increased stress hormones, hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Prolonged or repeated exposure to loud sounds (especially above 85 decibels) can even cause hearing loss. And in urban areas, it is not just traffic noise that causes problems. Construction noises, machines, exhaust fans, non-sounding traffic sounds, airplanes and even indoor noise contribute to pollution. It has become impossible to find a quiet corner in the cities. Mumbai police have taken up an uphill task to reduce at least one type of noise pollution.

The idea that only punishment can teach us to be aware of our horn is interesting. As adults, we are not used to dealing with frustrations such as the restart of a traffic light that was already delaying us. The idea, of course, as the video shows us, is to encourage others to control the urge to honk while driving. This is a terrible habit that almost all Indian drivers enjoy on the roads. And since we have firmly refused to learn to stop so far, we may have to learn it in the most difficult way. Blow the horn more, wait more!

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