Tag Archive: Mumbai

How Mumbai solves its horn problem

Photo credit: CommGlobal UVA licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

In India, a saying goes, you need four things to drive: a good car, good eyes, good luck, and a good horn. Honking horns are ubiquitous in the sprawling city of Mumbai. When the traffic light turns red, drivers honk their horns to get the drivers in front of them ready to move when it turns green.

The local police have figure out a solution to this noisy problem, though. They’ve hooked up decibel meters to the lights. If the drivers honk their horns, the light stays red.

The New York Times reports that other Indian cities are considering installing the same equipment.

Maybe the traffic folks in New York City will consider doing the same?

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.

Mumbai government responds robustly to address

noise levels ‘above safe limit’ in most parts of Mumbai.

The Hindustan Times reports that most localities in Mumbai, India’s noisiest city, are noisier than the safe limit.  The information comes from a study by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which measured sound levels at 740 of 1,200 locations across Mumbai and found that “most of the locations recorded noise levels above permissible limits for residential areas and silence zones.”  The noise mapping project was commenced to satisfy a Bombay High Court order that made it mandatory “for all authorities to carry out noise mapping and take into account all aspects of noise pollution as a parameter of quality of life.”

Indian authorities are concerned about the health implications of noise, particularly the concern that “exposure to high noise levels causes hearing loss, high blood pressure and mental health problems.”  Notes Dr MV Jagade, consultant ENT surgeon and head of department at JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College, “[e]xposure to noise pollution above 80 decibels (dB) for eight hours a day for eight years will induce permanent deafness. Shorter exposure of higher decibel levels also damages the ear drums.”

The noise-mapping project will continue through the end of the year until all 1,200 locations are measured; the combined data will be analysed and interpreted in January 2017.