As living in the 21st century, we, as humans, have developed and discovered so many new things. The innovations are countless. Modernisation with essential technology is good and all the kinds of developments have made our lives easier than before. But, it is said that everything isn’t perfect & it’s true with the man made things as well which have caused one of it’s major problems in the society called “Noise Pollution”.
What exactly is Noise Pollution?
By definition, noise pollution takes place when there is either an excessive amount of noise or an unpleasant sound that causes a temporary disruption in the natural balance. This definition is usually applicable to sounds or noises that are unnatural in either their volume or their production. It is the propagation of noise with a harmful impact on the activity of human or animal life.
Harmful Effects of Noise Pollution on our Health :
Short-Term Effects :
- Sleep Disturbance: Loud Noise can effect on the people sleeping pattern it generating the irritation and uncomfortable situations, so that is the reason for individuals who are not getting a good night sleep and not getting a proper rest and it can lose the performance of individuals at the office and the home.
- Communication Barrier: Trouble communicating generated when two people are talking freely and noise are disturbing to them so people will not understand the other person communication then it can become a headache for the people.
- Annoyance: The harsh noise can easily elevate the mood of a person in a negative way which annoys the person very bad & it can lead to stress.
All the short term effects if not faded away after a time, can easily lead to long term effects mentioned below.
Long-Term Effects :
- Ear Damage: Over a period we are the effect of the noise pollution, and it can easily result in damaged to our ear drums and loss of hearing. Which may impair the hearing for always and it also reduces our sensitivity to sounds so that our ears pick up unconsciously to regulate our body’s rhythm.
- Wildlife Disturbance: Wildlife faces far more problems than humans because noise pollution since they are more dependent on sound. Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it.
- Bad for Psychological Health: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars and even in our homes can influence psychological health.
- Bad for Cardiovascular Health: Blood pressure levels, cardio-vascular disease and stress related heart problems are on the rise. Studies suggest that high intensity noise causes high blood pressure and increases heart beat rate as it disrupts the normal blood flow.
- Imbalance of Hormones: Noise Pollution can have a detrimental effect on the normal hormonal balance of the body causing anxiety, irritability and loss of ability to handle stressful situations.
- Loss of mental peace and calm: People living in constant noisy areas usually lack a level of mental peace needed to better manage their body, mind and work.
- Loss of ability to Concentrate: Living in constant noise reduces your ability to concentrate deeply on matters of importance.
- Inability to contemplate things deeply: Noise makes one take things in a superficial and arrogant way. It makes us avoid anything that requires deep mental activity.
CAUSES OF NOISE POLLUTION :
We often come across so many things in our daily lives especially when living in the urban culture that produce strong sounds :
- TRANSPORTATION : Heavy sound of airplanes, underground trains, trucks etc & of course the heavy traffic in cities through cars & buses where our patience is lost somewhere and we keep blowing horns whenever not needed as well. It turns sound into noise.
- INDUSTRIALIZATION: Most of the big machines used in factories or industries are easily capable of producing huge amount of noise which can turn out to be harmful for the health of workers. Apart from machines, various equipments like generators, compressors, grinding mixers, exhaust fans etc. used in urban areas cause intolerable sound.
- SOCIAL EVENTS : Nowadays, we all like being party animals. Who doesn’t like going to Clubs, marriages and other celebrations & events like music concerts where we like dancing on loud music on full volume till midnight. It can disturb the people living nearby. Even, at the places of worship, we end up producing loud sounds through the mic while chanting hymns & singing songs.
- GADGETS: We people are surrounded by gadgets and use them extensively in our daily life. Gadgets like TV, mobile , mixer grinder, pressure cooker, vacuum cleaners , washing machine and dryer, cooler, air conditioners are minor contributors to the amount of noise.
- CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES : Constructing bridges, dams, building, houses is an essential part of development we see everyday happening. But unfortunately, the equipments used for that are too noisy & mining activity is harmful for noise & air pollution as well.
- HUMAN NOISE : At the present times, we see less peace among humans and therefore neighbours, strangers and even relatives, we all end up quarrelling by shouting & debating over little things. Fights over parking, frequent fights over basic amenities leads to noise pollution which may disrupt the environment of society.
- RELIGIOUS Institutions: Although Unacceptable to many, this is one of the leading causes of noise in residential areas. All religions came into being when there was no loud Speaker. Besides God does not want you to be loud in your prayers. To all those who believe using loudspeakers for holy activities is justified, we have 1 Question, ” How many decibels do you think is needed for God to be able to hear your Prayers?”. Make Sure your prayers may be meaning loss of health and mental peace to others.
A bit of Physics:
UNIT OF SOUND :
The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). A decibel unit expresses the relative intensity of sounds on a scale from zero for the average least perceptible sound to about 100 dB, which is near the level most people find uncomfortably loud.
Effects of Noise at Different Decibel Levels :
- Below 65 dB – Tolerable
- 80 dB – Annoying/Irritating
- 88 dB – Hearing disorder if prolonged exposure
- 110 dB – Discomfort & May cause Hearing Loss
- 135 dB & Above – Painful with Permanent Hearing Loss
Average “Decibels of Sound” in Common Places:
- 10 dB: Normal breathing
- 20 dB: Whispering from five feet away
- 30 dB: Whispering nearby
- 40 dB: Quiet library sounds
- 50 dB: Refrigerator
- 60 dB: Electric toothbrush
- 70 dB: Washing machine
- 80 dB: Alarm clock
- 90 dB: Subway train
- 100 dB: Factory machinery
- 110 dB: Car horn
- 120 dB: Ambulance siren
- 180 dB: Aircraft at take-off
- 140 dB: Fireworks
- 120 dB: Snowmobile
- 110 dB: Chain saw
- 110 dB: Amplified music
- 90 dB: Lawn mower
- 90 dB: Noisy office
- 80 dB: Vacuum cleaner
- 80 dB: City traffic
- 60 dB: Normal conversation
- 40 dB: Refrigerator humming
- 20 dB: Whisper
- 10 dB: Leaves rustling
- 10 dB: Calm breathing
Solutions to Noise Pollution :
At an individual level :
- On a personal level, everybody can help reducing the noise in their homes by lowering the volume of the radio, music system and the television.
- Removal of public loudspeakers is another way in which the pollution can be countered. As is controlling the sound levels in clubs, bars, parties and discos and Holy places. Remember that God does not need you to pray loud.
- Public awareness is essential for prevent and control the noise pollution. Not only the government but we should also be aware of the harmful consequences of noise pollution.
- Reduce the usage of firecrackers & horns.
- Plant more trees.
- Create a peaceful environment. Take care of others.
AT GROUP LEVEL :
- Better urban planning can help in creating ‘No-Noise’ zones, where honking and industrial noise are not tolerated.
- Construction of some soundproof machines in industrial and manufacturing installation must be encouraged. Also necessary for residential building.
- Such transport terminals & Industries should be developed far away from living spaces.
- Anti-pollution laws should make strict rules and regulation which enacted and forced.
- Ban all type of fire crackers which is very harmful for pollution and replace with the bulb horns.
- In the law of community must have a real and silence zone like Schools, Colleges, and Hospitals.
- Make in the residential area the plantation (Trees) it absorbs the sound and reduces the pollution and also healthier for breathing of body.
Still in case you live in a Noise Prone Area, here are a few things you can do to reduce the ill-effects of Noise:
- Closing the windows.
By closing the windows we can keep away the unwanted sounds away. We should open the windows during the quitter times of the day.
- Improve your insulation.
While designing your home/ office, make the use of double pane windows which will help in absorbing sound. One should install soundproof material in the walls, ceiling and floor as well.
- Noise cancelling headphones.
Sound- cancelling headphones are good for reducing noise pollution and must be made mandatory for industrial and construction workers.
- Use of modern acoustic wall panels
- Turn off electronic or reduce the volume
Play station, TV, radio, etc. contribute to noise pollution which can be reduced at individual level. By turning them off while not using will also help in reduction of electricity bill!
- Plant trees
Trees help in reduction of noise pollution so they must be planted near highway as well as in urban settings. Beside noise pollution, trees also help in reduction of air pollution.
It is only us, who live on this planet & we all are humans who are supposed to take care of each other. So, let’s take these steps to reduce the problem of noise pollution from our mother earth & keep it safe for all.
Take Care, Live Long & Stay Healthy with ZINI!