Increased noise pollution in Bengaluru leads to an increase in hearing problem among citizens.
Bengaluru: Bengaluru is known for the traffic congestion people face on a daily basis. The fear of getting late for work, makes people honk unnecessarily. The loud honking leads to an increase in the level of noise pollution in the city. People who wait in the traffic signal tend to honk a lot, even if they know that they shouldn’t do so.
After the pandemic, people have started using their own vehicles leading to a rise in loud honks on the roads. As per the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, this contributes to 40 percent of the noise pollution.
Around 25 percent people visit doctors and complain that they face problem in hearing. Dheeraj Kumar, an ENT specialist said, “There are so many patients who come to us, especially those who work in the traffic department or those who live near the highway face problem because of continuous long exposure. This causes damage to their ear nerve and it gets weak, which causes hearing loss. Due to this the patients even require machine i.e. hearing aid.”
Srinivas, a patient who has been using hearing aid since 2018 said, “I live near a highway and there is a lot of traffic jam here. There are so many buses, lorries and heavy vehicles which keeps coming and going and they keep honking. Because of this I started facing problem in hearing and doctors have suggested me to use hearing aid.”
Shriya, a college student said, “In Bangalore I think the noise pollution levels are very high. People unnecessarily honk.”
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) mentions that the honking increases during the rush hours i.e., 6 am to 10 am. The decibel level is monitored in ten continuous noise monitoring stations.
Jayprakash, Assistant Scientific Officer of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said, “The maximum contribution of noise is mainly because of vehicular movement. Because when you compare data of previous years or months, the maximum noise pollution has been recorded in the Commercial zones. Even though if in the residential zone and industrial zone, if it has increased also, it is because of the movement of the vehicles itself.”
The Government is taking measures against the use of shrill horns which are not eco-friendly and are contributing to noise pollution. The number of vehicles using shrill horns has decreased since 2019, but still the noise pollution level is high as shrill horns play a major role.
Ramanjinaiah M V, Assistant Traffic Sub- Inspector said, “Over the years we have been trying to make people aware about noise pollution, but I don’t see any changes as such. Due to more noise pollution, the government has told the cops to put a fine if there is a shrill horn in vehicles. A fine of Rs. 500 is put on a vehicle for the first time and if the horn is not removed and then caught the second time, then they will be charged a fine of Rs. 1000.”
There have been so many awareness programs for noise pollution. The activists would still continue spreading awareness about it. “The only way by which loud honking can be avoided is by public awareness programs and traffic management schemes can help in the decrease of the noise pollution,” said Srinavasulu, Member Secretary, KSPCB.