Often, as a pedestrian on ITI Road, I am honked at by cars and bikes. This drives me mad and I often salute them and with an exaggerated pass gesture, ‘allow’ the offending drivers to pass. Other times I try to talk to them to not honk. I once asked one six-seater driver at a red light why he kept honking and he looked at me with a grin and said ‘maja aata hai‘ and hit another pip-pip-pip-a-peep sequence on his electronic horn. I can easily imagine young chaps who’ve just started driving to be pip-pipping away just for the fun of it as they pretend to be speed racers. But its just not funny with drivers on very busy roads thinking their horn is a laser gun that will vaporize all vehicles ahead of them. As a pedestrian, I’ve often wanted to blow a trumpet back at them.
A very small ray of hope is the recent declaration of 2,047 spots as ‘silence zones’ by PMC. These are mainly areas within a 100 metres radius of schools, colleges and hospitals.
The sound level should not be more that 50 decibels between 6 am and 10 pm and after 10 pm, it should not exceed 40 decibels. Violation of the rules would invite penalties.
As per a Govt Resolution (or GR) issued in April 2009 (click here for a pdf copy of GR to open in a new window, 1.4 mb), the duties of the Municipal Commissioner in this regard, are:
- Corresponding rules for the enforcement of noise standards laid down under the environment (protection) Rules 1986 at source for construction projects, utilities for buildings (ACs, DG sets etc) domestic appliances, development and other activities in their jurisdiction
- The urban local bodies shall be responsible for demarcation of the silent zones as per the Noise Rules 2000 and displaying the same adequately.
- The urban local bodies shall include an Action Plan for noise control in the Environmental Status Reports submitted by them annually, including noise monitoring and noise mapping studies.
- The local body and Urban Development Dept, Govt of Maharashtra will not grant any permissions for development activities inconsistent with or in conflict with the categorization of zone. In case of overlapping zones, stringent standards will prevail over in that particular area.
The garden department head Bhanudas Mane has been given the responsibility to implement the silent zones in the city. As of now, the PMC is planning to put up signboards in each silent zone.
But I suppose a very creative communication effort is needed.
A Sociology Dept student is working with CEE to develop a note on noise pollution in Pune – what the legislation is, how it is being implemented, past experiences of controling noise etc. Later we hope to have students from Media/ Communication Studies to develop ideas for a campaign.
I am thinking may be residents associations, senior citizens, and even schools could take up a persistent campaign at traffic junctions to appeal to drivers to not honk unncessarily. Short videos in cinema halls, TV and radio spots might be good too. But they would have to be witty.
Lots of ideas are needed …. suggestions are welcome.
Bristol, UK has created a noise map. See: