Road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari said last week that he is taking action to lower the noise from vehicular horns that city-dwelling Indians have to put up with every minute of their lives. The level of noise from blaring horns has become, quite frankly, intolerable. The minister cited the risks involved, speaking of the “serious health hazard” posed by noise pollution. He has the administration’s work cut out: Current regulations mandate a maximum of 91 decibels for horns and he wants to bring this down to 50db. Enforcement is one obvious challenge. But there’s a far wider problem of persistent ambient noise—it’s high all around, whether on the streets or in a movie theatre. Ambient noise in Indian metros is 80-100db, enough to turn us deaf over time. Indeed, that’s pretty much the first thing noticed by any visitor from a developed country, where sounding a horn is almost unheard of. Has India left noise reduction till too late? Are we inescapably addicted to our clamorous ways? Let us hope not. To be sure, we at Mint do like to make a din for the right cause when required. This time around, we will raise a cheer, but quietly.
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Updated: 27 Aug 2023, 10:53 PM IST