In an effort to cut down noise pollution, the decision has been made for indiscriminate honking to be banned in Kathmandu Valley. The Metropolitan Traffic Police Department (MTPD) in collaboration with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) are preparing to impose a ban on the use of pressure horns except during emergencies and at turning points.
The new rule comes into effect from the Nepali New Year (April 14) to reduce noise pollution, especially during traffic jams.
“From April 14 onward, horns will be banned for public, government, tourist, and private vehicles plying in Kathmandu Valley,” Gyanendra Karki, KMC spokesperson said, adding that the main aim of the ban was to minimize sound pollution.
“People of Kathmandu are fed up with high levels of unnecessary honking by drivers. We hope that there will be no horn sounds in ‘no horn’ areas and sound pollution will come down in the coming days,” Karki said.
The rules will not be applicable to fire trucks, security personnel, ambulances, and hearses.
However, this is not the first time that the MTPD announced such a ban. Just last year, they had executed a “no horn” rule in certain areas inside the Ring Road last year, but without much impact.
“We’ll strictly implement the rule this time around,” said MTPD Spokesperson SP Lokendra Malla.
Furthermore, the office of KMC has pushed penalty for rule violators. The traffic police will seize the horns from vehicles if the drivers are found guilty of misusing them. The rules also state that repeat offenders will face a fine up to NPR 5,000.
According to the MTPD, Kathmandu Valley has 828,000 vehicles. Large four wheelers such as trucks, buses produce up to 120 decibels (a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound). Sounds above 85 decibels are harmful.
Doctors say long-term exposure to pressure horns causes stress, blood pressure, aggression, and hypertension and could lead to permanent hearing impairment.
ENT specialist Dr. Rakesh Srivastava said this move should have been enforced earlier. “Nevertheless, this is a welcome move,” he said.
Experts say the government has not given serious priority to curb activities that create noise pollution. Vehicular noise aside, high levels of sound from sawmills, furniture factories, sugarcane mills, textile or metal industries, religious ceremonies, mosques or temples using loudspeakers, and construction works also cause sound pollution.