Kathmandu, August 24
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division is launching a drive to punish motorists using pressure horns within the Ring Road, especially in a ‘no horn zone’, to ensure a noise-pollution free city.
The MTPD has warned that it will slap a fine of up to Rs 1,500 on erring drivers as per Section 164 of the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, 1993 if they are caught blowing horn in the ‘no horn zone’.
With increasing number of vehicles and limited road length in urban settlements of the Kathmandu Valley,the problem of traffic congestion, accidents, air and noise pollution have become serious issues.
Noise pollution in commercial places, new and old residential areas and tourist spots of the Kathmandu Valley exceed the Guidelines for Community Noise set by the World Health Organisation.
According to Environmental Statistics of Nepal-2013 recently released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, five traffic areas go over the limit or permissible level of 70 decibels (dB) for road traffic noise.
The statistics list Kupandole as the most noise-polluted traffic area with 77 dB noise level followed by Putalisadak with 75 dB, Kalanki 74 dB, Maitighar 71 dB and Suryabinayak 71 dB during the daytime.
Similarly, commercial and residential areas such as Asan Chowk (74dB), Manbhawan (71db) and Naya Bazaar (64 dB) are said to be equally affected by noise pollution.
According to the WHO, human ear can tolerate only 26 decibels of sound.
Sound exceeding 70 dB is detrimental to health and can cause headache, irritation, fatigue, restlessness, stress, distraction and sleep loss.
Regular exposure to noise can cause hypertension, temporary or permanent hearing loss, stress, sleeplessness, fright and distraction, among other health problems.
Pointless honking is a major factor causing noise pollution in the Valley where more than 700,000 vehicle ply every day.
A traffic police official informed that MTPD has launched a crackdown on vehicles who honk unnecessarily in the core areas of the capital city. The existing law allows vehicles to use pressure horns on highways only.
A pressure horn generally produces sound measuring more than 60 decibel. “It is excusable only on the highways,” said SP Lokendra Malla.
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.