One of the worst things about being stuck in traffic is the blaring horns that never seem to stop. However, there is a city in India that has done away with this unnecessary honking. Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram, has become the first Indian city to adopt a no-honking policy, that too without any official help or legislation.
A car horn’s average decibel level is nearly 110dB, which is a serious health hazard as any sound above 60–70dB can result in gradual loss of hearing. Noise pollution has become such a serious problem in cities that ENT specialists say that most of the urban population suffers from 20dB hearing loss.
Honking is considered to be the most common source of noise pollution. In a report released in 2013, Mumbai was declared the country’s noisiest city, followed by Lucknow, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Chennai. Seventy percent of the noise pollution caused in Gurugram is due to honking. Fines imposed for violations are meagre and people continue to suffer the blaring honking on the roads.
If a person has chronic exposure to sound above 55dB, the risk of heart disease and stroke increases. As per a WHO study, "One million healthy life years are lost due to traffic noise."
The story of Aizawl has been documented in Tranquility, a short film that shows people from the city coming together to make their home free of noise. This movie has been filmed by six youths from Nagaland and Mizoram and has also been recommended by actor, director, and choreographer Prabhudeva.
While in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi, everyone seems to be in a rush and the honking never seems to stop, in Aizawl, one is welcomed only by the beautiful and melodious bird chirping.
With this initiative to eliminate noise pollution, Aizawl has set an example for the entire country to follow.