Traffic police have revived their campaign against needless honking in Kathmandu valley after the trend of using horn increased alarmingly.

Though Metropolitan Traffic Police Division had enforced a ban on needless honking with effect from 14 April 2017 and taken action against thousands of motorists in subsequent days, it has not been effective in recent times.

Senior Superintendent of Police, MTPD in-charge, said the campaign was relaunched on August 10 by pasting 50,000 'no-horn' stickers on the right corner of the windshield of private and public four-wheelers.

"Unnecessary use of horn has risen in the valley, adding to the already aggravated level of noise pollution. We are planning to bring to book any motorist who defy the no-horn rule as per the prevailing law," he warned. The 'no-horn' sticker campaign continues.

Section 164 (c) of the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, 1993 has imposed a ban on honking needlessly.

"No one shall blow horn in circumstances other than the invisibility of vehicles coming from the opposite direction and the high chance of accident if the horn is not blown," says the act. This provision must be complied with by private, tourist and government-owned vehicles, including both two-wheelers and four-wheelers.

Emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire engines and police vans/ jeeps shall not be obliged to follow the rule. According to MTPD, the on-duty traffic cop may fine an offender with an amount up to Rs 500 if he/she is found blowing the horn without any valid reason.

Needless honking is a major contributing factor of noise pollution in the valley.

With the increasing number of vehicles and limited road length in the 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 valley exceed the Guidelines for Community Noise set by the World Health Organisation.

According to the recent Environmental Statistics of Nepal released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, most of the traffic areas exceed the limit or permissible level of 70 decibels (dB) for road traffic noise during daytime.

The human ear can tolerate only 26 decibels of sound, says the WHO. Sound level 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 and sleeplessness.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 16 2021, of The Himalayan Times.