Global Crisis: The Alarming Case of Noise Pollution
With the large-scale growth of the human population and the rapid development of technology, environmental degradation had far been worsening as material and chemical wastes have constantly been discarded each day. As a result, different forms of pollution has piled up in various areas worldwide, contributing most to the death of every species in this planet: oil spill in the ocean killed thousands of birds and sea-organisms, land contamination destroyed most of the animals’ natural habitat, and massive used of synthetic chlorine compounds had depleted the stratospheric ozone layer which lead to the dangerous global warming. Though land, water, and air pollution had the greatest impact on the current situation on Earth, another problem has posed silent threats in the further years – Noise Pollution.
Though there are a lot of technical definitions, noise is simply defined as an unwanted sound. Thus, any sound, which is usually irritating and is on higher level of volume that interferes with speech, communication, leisure, and relaxation, is considered to be a noise. For instance, the loud cry of a baby in the middle of the night, the continuous ring of telephones, and your friend’s loud shout inside a movie theater are all deemed to be noises. Noise normally occurs at work or in the midst of noisy leisure activities, such as festivals, parties, and other celebrations and is commonly caused by an individual, an immense amount of people and animals, and machines present within the surroundings.
Noise and sound is measured in decibels (db). Noise could be tolerable in less than 65 dB (limit for office workers). Above, 75 dB has been set to be the official limit of sound industries and more than that would need a protective earwear to avoid eardrum damage. Continuous exposure to 95 dB sound, the sound produced by a train, could lead to harmful effects in the body.
Several studies concerning the effects of long-term exposure noise in the human body. Commonly, people living in urban areas are most likely affected with the harmful effects produced by noise and still, rural areas would most likely suffer from environmental issues with the pollution. Significantly, though more researches are needed in regards to this field, the results show the following results:
- Headaches and Migraines
- Permanent Hearing Loss
- Sleep Disturbance
- Hypertension and Heart Failure
- Aggravated Depression
- Irritation and Annoyance
- Behavioral Affects
- Muscular Tension
- Concentration Loss
- Low Performance Levels
In rare cases, long exposure to higher decibels of noise will cause death.
Based on the published report for the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Stockholm University in 19955, noise levels outside dwellings should not exceed 55 dB(A) to protect the majority of people from getting damaged both mentally and physically, and thus 50 dB(A) should be considered the maximum desirable. Though these are considered to be ideal levels, the undeniable higher exposure to noise will remain commonplace in the developed world in the further years. Naturally, noise-exposure standards will be set at higher levels, although efforts will continue to be made to reduce them:
Noise emission limits have been set for all new vehicle types, in order to reduce noise exposure, and progressively throughout the years has been lowered as much of the car production has continued to increase. Furthermore, most efforts on noise reduction are found on improved car engines and quieter new tire designs have also been implemented and “quite” road surfaces have now been used on newly constructed roads.
Due to a great technological advancement, utmost all of the machineries used in construction produce less noise compared to the machines produced in the previous years. Careful construction-planning, which include a prior notice of the construction as well as a good public relation with regards to the matters, and an environmental noise assessments, taking the sort-term nature of most construction activities into account, have also taken effect as well.
Local authorities and activity planners cooperatively practiced planning regulations in order to minimize the disturbance to residents and other non-participating individuals within the affected areas.
With the latest designs, modern high-speed trains create less noise than conventional trains. Moreover, though costly, it has also been recommended that trains are located underground to reduce the impact of noise exposure in addition to road traffics. Still, cautious planning of new routes and noise reduction procedures are still needed to meet environmental standards.
Normally computer generated noise exposure contours help indicate noise impacts at any specific location within the vicinity of the airport. Computer modeling could also be used to evaluate the impact of the changes, such as the replacement of older and noisier aircrafts with newer quitter ones and the arrival and departure routes of the aircrafts.
Noises produced by guns and rifle firing, large artillery, tanks, explosives and bombs, and in some cases air-ground missiles are unavoidable in the military. Though the possibility of using such would fairly be small, the noise produced on the other hand causes a great deal of concern in the surrounding communities. Thus, good public relations can aid to minimize the adverse impact in the society.
Sound is a requirement for life, though some of us might not have noticed it. Without it, we'd probably look like fools trying are best to understand each other. Still, too much would be frightening as shouting underwater. So, let's take a moment to appreciate it and to cherish it as well. And more importantly, as all have said it to be, 'actions speak louder than words', noise can be limit with your hands more than your voice.