We, the present generation people, often have heard from our parents or grandparents about how their lifestyle used to be so drastically different as compared to our today’s lives. Through the ongoing high-speed development in almost every sector, it has now become almost impossible to make out similarities between today’s lifestyle and the lifestyles of parents and grandparents. One of the most common thing which most of our grandparents have told us was that they use to hear Cuckoo’s song and birds chirping, and we have heard and appreciated such noises very rarely especially in urban regions.
Our generation is well aware of how much our lives have become way more comfortable as compared to past generations, but on the other side of the coin, in the present scenario we are also facing a new demon that has emerged more
around 10-15 years back called “noise pollution”.
What Is Noise Pollution?
“Noise pollution is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms”.
According to the World Health Organisation (W.H.O), sound levels less than 70 decibels are not damaging to living organisms, regardless of how long or consistent the exposure is. However, exposure for more than 8 hours to constant noise beyond 85 decibels may be hazardous.
Causes of Noise pollution
Although most of us are already aware of the general reasons for noise pollution like traffic sounds, there are some other factors as well which are contributing to this havoc which are given as follows :
● Construction sounds like drilling or other heavy machinery in operation.
● Constant loud music in or near commercial venues.
● Industrial sounds like fans, generators, compressors, etc.
● Events involving fireworks, firecrackers, loudspeakers, etc.
● Conflicts generate noise pollution through explosions, gunfire, etc.
Effects of Noise Pollution
● According to various services noise pollution impacts, millions of people, and the most common health problem caused by it is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
● Exposure to loud noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbance, and stress.
● Children staying in more noisy areas are more susceptible to problems like impairment in memory attention level and reading skills.
● Psychologically, Noise can cause attacks of stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and hysteria in both humans and animals.
● Noise above 45 dB stops you from falling asleep or sleeping properly. Remember that according to the World Health Organization it should be no more than 30 dB. Loud noise can have latent effects on our behavior, causing aggressive behavior and irritability.
● Although age-related health effects (presbycusis) occur naturally with age, in many countries the cumulative impact of noise is sufficient to impair the hearing of a large fraction of the population throughout a lifetime.
● The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authored a pamphlet in 1978 that suggested a correlation between low-birthweight (using the World Health Organization definition of fewer than 2,500 grams (88 oz)) and high sound levels, and also high rates of birth defects in places where expectant mothers are exposed to elevated sound levels, such as typical airport environs
● In a study conducted by Cornell University in 1993, children exposed to noise in learning environments experienced trouble with word discrimination, as well as various cognitive developmental delays.
● Auditory stimuli can serve as psychological triggers for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Another 2018 study in Canada found that preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy, was more common among pregnant people exposed to higher levels of noise pollution.
● Dolphins and whales are frequent visitors to the shallow waters of large oceans. But because of the continuous loud noise caused by drilling machines in the oceans, some of these animal’s hearing capabilities have been severely impacted, with some having a permanent hearing impairment.
● It also causes chaos for wildlife as well animals use sound for a variety of reasons including to navigate, find food, attract mates, etc. and noise pollution makes it difficult for them to accomplish these tasks.
● Noise deters the productivity of animals both in the wild and domesticated. Cows produce less milk if there is any noise around them during milking. They get agitated and tend to withdraw the milk due to fear and discomfort.
● Chickens are also adversely affected by noise. There is a drastic drop in the production of eggs for layers in noisy environments.
● Even in plants and vegetation, consequently, noise pollution is altering the landscape of plants and trees, which depend on noise-affected animals to pollinate them and spread their seeds. Some plants do worse in noisy areas while others seem to do better, depending on how the community of creatures around them changes.
Hence, by this time we all have now become aware of the ill effects of noise pollution and also now want ways to tackle it. Complete restriction on vehicles, constructions, etc are not a great solution to resolve this issue. So, instead of these extreme steps we, as the responsible citizens and also the respective authorities can take or follow these actions regularly to combat this havoc which is mentioned as follows :
● We can shut the door after we turn on washing machines, coolers in the room when it is kept.
● The use of earplugs or earmuffs can bring down loud noises to a manageable level.
● Community law should check the use of loudspeakers outdoor parties as well as political public announcements.
● We can plant more trees as they are good noise absorbent according to studies it can reduce noise by 5 to 10 decibels around them.
● We can notify government agencies if someone is not following rules and regulations regarding noise levels.
The problem of noise pollution cannot be handled only by the government authorities, it is also the duty of all of us to just follow the guidelines associated with rules and regulations of noise pollution, only if both the parties (i.e common people and government agencies) follow all the above-mentioned parameters, then this problem can surely be reduced, not in one day, but definitely in some amount of time.