“Please think about the infants and the elderly before blowing horn,” says a sign board at the entry of Siva Ramakrishna Street in Gayatrinagar. Noise nuisance is a big problem for the residents of not just this street, but the entire locality.

Noise (unwanted sound) can affect both health and behaviour. It can cause annoyance, aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus (hearing sound which does not exist) and ischemic heart disease. Changes in the immune system and birth defects have been attributed to noise exposure. Prolonged exposure to sound or noise levels as low as 70 decibels (dB) could result in damage to hearing.

“The speed of youngsters on bikes going in this street is frightening,” said Sudha Chukkapalli, a resident. “One a rainy day a junior intermediate student going at top speed on a Bullet in this street skidded and fell. I took away the keys and gave them back only to the parents. They should know how fast their children are driving,” she said.

But, the continuous blowing of horn and engine revving by youngsters on mobikes is just the tip of the ice berg, she said.

Gayatrinagar, once a quiet residential area, has turned into a ‘nightmare’ with four schools and two junior colleges mushrooming in the locality almost overnight. The daily traffic congestion seems to be the least of the residents’ problems when compared to the noise nuisance.

Annual Day celebrations are dime a dozen in the grounds of one of the schools. The corporate school has several campuses in the city, but the one in Gayatrinagar only has a playground. “One annual day celebration we can put up with, but it has become a monthly affair,” the residents said.

They made several complaints to the management of the institutions and the civic authorities without any results, Ms. Sudha said.

The local bodies seem to be least concerned about such complaints. United Kingdom is the only country that is very sensitive to this form of nuisance.

Several of the town and districts guide residents on how to deal with such problems, a resident said and cited the example of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which lists on its website what a complainant could do at the time of nuisance, immediately afterwards and also the long-term action that they could take. Gathering of evidence using video cameras was stressed for making an effective complaint.

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