The Times of India TNN | Aug 6, 2014
Where the authorities have failed, ENT doctors are going to give a try. Ear-Nose-Throat physicians in the state are joining hands to spread awareness on noise pollution in a massive community driven programme. “Earlier, individuals over 75 years used to consult us for hearing problems. Now the issue affects those as young as 45 years. This is an indication of how sound affects the human ears. Despite strict rules to limit unneccessary use of vehicle horn and sound pollution created by loudspeakers, the law is seldom enforced,” said Dr John Panicker, state president of ENT doctors’ association who is spearheading the campaign. The National Initiative for Safe Sound (NISS) campaign aims to reduce noise pollution. For this, the doctors have decided to educate students, police, residents’ associations, advocates and even political parties about the ill-effects of sound pollution. ENT doctors have joined hands with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to spread the initiative across all 14 districts. “We are planning educational programmes and other initiatives. A short advertisement film directed by Renji Panicker featuring actor Mohanlal, singers Yesudas and Chitra is also being made,” said Dr N Sulphi, an ENT specialist and president of IMA, Thiruvananthapuram. The state ENT association has earmarked Rs 10 lakh for booklets detailing the ill-effects of sound pollution. They will be distributed through schools and via a door-to-door campaign. Student police cadets will also be involved. “We are trying to involve every section of the society in the campaign by making them organize programmes. The district administration, police authorities and residents’ associations have already pledged their support,” said Dr Panicker. The campaign will be launched in September by Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, an ENT specialist himself. A hotline will also be set up to receive complaints on noise pollution. “Be it the use of loudspeakers by temples, churches or during any local festivity, people can call the number and lodge a complaint. We will take adequate steps with the support of the district administration and police authorities. The Thiruvananthapuram district administration has already decided to come out with an order on the use of loudspeakers,” said Dr Panicker.