Drives against noise pollution have not produced expected results

Towards the end of last year, two special drives were held in the city to curb rising levels of noise pollution.

While one was the ‘No Horn Day Campaign’ initiated in November by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the other was undertaken by the Transport Department to curb noise pollution.

During the month, the Transport Department booked 945 cases against motorists for noise pollution, caused either by excessive honking or by altering the adjustments of silencers in their vehicles. A fine of Rs. 300 for two-wheelers, Rs. 600 for four-wheelers and Rs. 900 for heavy vehicles was levied on errant motorists for causing noise pollution and also for emitting excessive smoke.

However, Joint Commissioner of Traffic (Enforcement) H.G. Kumar said that motorists continued to cause pollution even after they pay fine. “They pay the fine and forget the idea. There are about 42 lakh vehicles in the city and we cannot bring down noise levels without increasing the awareness among the public,” he said.

While the ‘No Horn Day Campaign’ was followed over eight weeks on every Monday, it only focussed on Koramangala as it was conducted in association with the Koramangala Residents’ Welfare Association and Pratham Motors.

About five areas were chosen within Koramangala where the noise levels were monitored, said a KSPCB representative, who added that the noise levels in the area came down by 4 or 5 per cent after the initiative. The KSPCB sought help of the traffic police, who levied fines on motorists who exceeded the permissible sound level of 55 decibels in residential areas and 65 decibels in commercial areas.

KSPCB chairman Vaman Acharya said the campaign would be taken up in other areas across the city as well. “Since, we don’t have enough manpower, we will introduce the initiative in one area each week. We carried out the campaign in K.R. Circle and Trinity Circle recently. Soon, it will be taken to other areas,” he said.

He said the KSPCB had approached the taxi drivers’ associations and autorickshaw drivers’ associations to help educate their members on taking measures to bring down noise pollution, especially by reducing honking.

“The KSPCB drive is mainly educational where volunteers create awareness about the need to reduce honking. They approach commuters at traffic signals and also have a ‘No Horn’ sticker that is put up on various vehicles to spread awareness,” Mr. Acharya added.