Honking Indian roads
Indian Medical Association and Mumbai based Awaaz Foundation launched horn-flu campaign to raise awareness on ill-effects of necessary honking on roads. In Picture: Women taxi drivers take an oath against "unnecessary honking" at a function organised by the city's traffic police in Mumbai July 9, 2008Reuters

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Mumbai-based non-profit organisation Awaaz Foundation launched Sunday on social media a nationwide initiative called the "Horn-Flu Campaign", aimed to project unnecessary honking on Indian roads as a disease.

The campaign will be extended to schools, colleges as well as the traffic police to tackle the effects of honking on health.

"We have already spoken to the Mumbai traffic police and they have extended cooperation in making our campaign successful. The inclusion of doctors (IMA) in this campaign will help us raise awareness of how honking, a serious form of noise pollution, is affecting our health. We consider honking on roads a disease, which is why we have called it the 'Horn-Flu Campaign'," Sumaira Abdulali, founder of Awaaz Foundation, told International Business Times, India.

She said the Indian habit of honking produces unhealthy levels of loud noise and may cause diseases related to the heart, mental health and even cancer.

"Noise affects every organ in the body adversely, and is a serious medical problem," she said.

Abdaulali said through the campaign, people will be informed about the ill-effects of "horn-flu" and how they can safeguard themselves from it.

"Indian horns are the loudest in the world. We plan to sensitise the government on the need to fix the horns at 70 decibel," John Panicker, the national coordinator of the IMA's Safe Sound Initiative, was quoted by the Times of India as saying.

He said India has a high incidence of heart attacks and diabetes, and it is highly likely noise levels produced by honking play a role in them.

There is currently no regulation for noise pollution caused by honking. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), which handles cases on environment issues, has asked the Central government to formulate regulations for noise levels  at manufacturing sites and delivery points of automobiles. The NGT has also directed Regional Transport Offices to monitor noise pollution levels.

The Central and state government authorities are shceduled to hold a consultative meeting later this month at the NGT, the Indian Express reports.