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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Muzzle your ego, stop that incessant honking!

- Students and traffic cops launch drive to create awareness on noise pollution

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: Fifty-odd students from various educational institutions of the city today caught motorists by their “horns” at Rupali Square here to drive home the point: “Think before you honk”.

The students — under the banner of youth group United For Social Interests (USI) foundation — in collaboration with the traffic police conducted an awareness campaign titled “Do not Honk” by distributing leaflets which contained information on the ill-effects of excess and unpleasant use of horns while driving.

They also put “do not honk” stickers on some of the vehicles. Well-known choreographer Saswat Joshi and sand animation wizard Manas Kumar Sahoo joined the campaign today.

“We explained to the motorists and passers-by at Rupali Square the unhealthy practice of using horns at the drop of a hat. The people have promised not to use their horns unnecessarily,” said a volunteer Roma Roy.

These youngsters said honking without reason on Indian roads was causing noise pollution but people did not understand the negative impact it had on others. “Vehicular honking contributes to 70 per cent of noise pollution in cities. This noise pollution adversely affects human health as it causes headache, fatigue and many other diseases and affects human behaviour too,” said another volunteer Manoj Kumar Setty.

He said most people blew horns to rid themselves of frustration and tension and were not aware of the ill impact of such noise pollution. “It is basically the lack of civic sense in those people who cause problem for others by using loud and fancy horns,” he said.

The worst sufferers of honking were children, old people, pregnant women and patients. That’s why hospitals and schools have been declared no-honk zones, they said.

“In our awareness drive, we convinced drivers of buses, autorickshaws and other vehicles to convert their pressure horns to normal ones that create less noise. We want to lessen noise pollution caused by unnecessary and incessant honking in Bhubaneswar,” said Sanjay Jena, a trustee of USI foundation.

Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) traffic, Bhubaneswar, Binod Das said the city police had been conducting raids on vehicles using high sounding and spunky horns. “The sound limit for horns has been fixed to 65 decibels and it is mandatory for people to stick to this norm. We check horns using sound meters and penalise violators. Offenders have to shell out Rs 500 and their horns are seized,” he said.

Das also said that every day around eight people were fined for not sticking to the norms specified for use of horns on the roads. The city police had issued a sticker for senior citizens to put up on the front and rear glasses of their vehicles so that other motorists would not create problems for them by honking unnecessarily.