No-honking crusader is spreading the word through stickers If you were a Martian who had just landed in Bengaluru, you would be led to believe that honking is what makes a vehicle move and not its engine. That’s how bad the noise levels are in Bengaluru. With roads all choked up with traffic, some drivers don’t take their hands off the horn. Bangalore Mirror had launched a campaign in July 2016 to make people aware about No Honking, and Bharathi Athinarayanan, was one of the few people from Bengaluru who was inspired to follow it to the T. The techie, whose wife had brought the campaign to his notice, travelled all the way to his native village near Coimbatore in 2016 and didn’t honk even once. From there he went to Kerala to watch the boat race and didn’t use the horn even once. Now Bharathi Athinarayanan has moved on from self-discipline to discouraging people from honking. Weaving in between vehicles on crowded roads, Athinarayanan sticks labels on cars and two wheelers to discourage them from honking. He has many stickers in his arsenal. ‘No Honking, No Dinging, No Poinging, No Buzzing, No Ringing, No Hooting, No Binging and NO Boinging’ says one while another has a No Honking sign. While one says, ‘Horn Not Okay Please’, another says ‘Quiet Please’ while yet another says ‘No Honking Unless for Danger’.Authorities have been trying to deal with the sound pollution caused by unnecessary honking with many campaigns. The police had launched No Honking Mondays to encourage people to begin the week with less noise but the campaign fell on deaf years. Even the badges that the cops wore, Don’t Be Horny’ did not elicit a response. During traffic jams, especially during peak hours, I use the time to think. Most of my interesting work ideas come during traffic jams – Bharathi Athinarayanan, techie The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board says sound levels should not exceed 84 decibels (db) but the Regional Transport Office found that sound horns were as loud as 135 db. Hearing damage can happen at 90 db and complete hearing loss at 120 db. In 2015, the RTO had carried out a 40-day campaign to bring awareness about no honking and seized 12,000 vehicles whose sound horns exceeded permissible limits. Implementing the no honking initiative becomes difficult, say authorities, in the absence of meters to measure the decibel levels on the roads. Athinarayanan, a principal engineer at American Telephone and Telegraph Company, has been following the No Honking rule since two years and now wants to spread the message to others. His sticker distribution drive which he started earlier this year, was meant to make people follow No Honking as a courtesy. Says Athinarayanan, “I got 40 stickers printed and distributed them to my friends and commuters. Since I stay in HSR Layout, I also distributed the ‘No Honking’ stickers to commuters at traffic signals. They were curious to know what this was about and thought I was from the traffic police department. I explained to them about the need to stop honking. They were happy to flaunt the stickers on their vehicles and promised me that they would follow the same. I am happy that I am able to make some difference to society.” Athinarayanan’s sticker initiative is self-funded and he has designed and created five different kinds of stickers.