Noise pollution
Overview
 
Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise
Environmental noise
Environmental noise is the summary of noise from transport, industrial and recreational activities.The definition is pursuant to the directive 2002/49/EC article 10.1. This directive should give a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce the harmful effects of environmental noise. The...

 that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. The word noise
Noise
In common use, the word noise means any unwanted sound. In both analog and digital electronics, noise is random unwanted perturbation to a wanted signal; it is called noise as a generalisation of the acoustic noise heard when listening to a weak radio transmission with significant electrical noise...

comes from the Latin word nausea
Nausea
Nausea , is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting...

s
, meaning seasickness.

The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is mainly construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 and transportation systems
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

, including motor vehicle
Motor vehicle
A motor vehicle or road vehicle is a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not operate on rails, such as trains or trolleys. The vehicle propulsion is provided by an engine or motor, usually by an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor, or some combination of the two, such as hybrid...

 noise, aircraft noise
Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise is noise pollution produced by any aircraft or its components, during various phases of a flight: on the ground while parked such as auxiliary power units, while taxiing, on run-up from propeller and jet exhaust, during take off, underneath and lateral to departure and arrival paths,...

 and rail noise. Poor urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area.
Noise health effects
Noise health effects
Noise health effects are the health consequences of elevated sound levels. Elevated workplace or other noise can cause hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, annoyance and sleep disturbance. Changes in the immune system and birth defects have been attributed to noise exposure...

 are both health and behavioral in nature.
Encyclopedia
Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise
Environmental noise
Environmental noise is the summary of noise from transport, industrial and recreational activities.The definition is pursuant to the directive 2002/49/EC article 10.1. This directive should give a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce the harmful effects of environmental noise. The...

 that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life. The word noise
Noise
In common use, the word noise means any unwanted sound. In both analog and digital electronics, noise is random unwanted perturbation to a wanted signal; it is called noise as a generalisation of the acoustic noise heard when listening to a weak radio transmission with significant electrical noise...

comes from the Latin word nausea
Nausea
Nausea , is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting...

s
, meaning seasickness.

The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is mainly construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 and transportation systems
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

, including motor vehicle
Motor vehicle
A motor vehicle or road vehicle is a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not operate on rails, such as trains or trolleys. The vehicle propulsion is provided by an engine or motor, usually by an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor, or some combination of the two, such as hybrid...

 noise, aircraft noise
Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise is noise pollution produced by any aircraft or its components, during various phases of a flight: on the ground while parked such as auxiliary power units, while taxiing, on run-up from propeller and jet exhaust, during take off, underneath and lateral to departure and arrival paths,...

 and rail noise. Poor urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential area.

Human health

Noise health effects
Noise health effects
Noise health effects are the health consequences of elevated sound levels. Elevated workplace or other noise can cause hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, annoyance and sleep disturbance. Changes in the immune system and birth defects have been attributed to noise exposure...

 are both health and behavioral in nature. The unwanted sound is called noise. This unwanted sound can damage physiological and psychological health. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension
Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

, high stress levels, tinnitus
Tinnitus
Tinnitus |ringing]]") is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: abnormally loud sounds in the ear canal for even the briefest period , ear...

, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects.
Furthermore, stress and hypertension are the leading causes to health problems, whereas tinnitus can lead to forgetfulness, severe depression and at times panic attacks.

Chronic exposure to noise may cause noise-induced hearing loss. Older males exposed to significant occupational noise
Industrial noise
Industrial noise is usually considered mainly from the point of view of environmental health and safety, rather than nuisance, as sustained exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. Traditionally, occupational noise has been a hazard linked to heavy industries such as ship-building and...

 demonstrate significantly
Statistical significance
In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. The phrase test of significance was coined by Ronald Fisher....

 reduced hearing sensitivity than their non-exposed peers, though differences in hearing sensitivity decrease with time and the two groups are indistinguishable by age 79. A comparison of Maaban
Maaban
Maaban is a remote populated place in Ghana. Its coordinates are: Latitude : 6° 59′ 0″ N; Longitude : 2° 13′ 0″. Tribesmen from Maaban were studied by Rosen in a seminal study proving that hearing loss is primarily associated with exposure to elevated sound levels, rather than a function of ageing...

 tribesmen, who were insignificantly exposed to transportation or industrial noise, to a typical U.S. population showed that chronic exposure to moderately high levels of environmental noise contributes to hearing loss.

High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects and exposure to moderately high levels during a single eight hour period causes a statistical rise in blood pressure
Blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure of the systemic circulation. During each heartbeat, BP varies...

 of five to ten points and an increase in stress
Stress (medicine)
Stress is a term in psychology and biology, borrowed from physics and engineering and first used in the biological context in the 1930s, which has in more recent decades become commonly used in popular parlance...

 and vasoconstriction
Vasoconstriction
Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, particularly the large arteries, small arterioles and veins. The process is the opposite of vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. The process is particularly important in...

 leading to the increased blood pressure
Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

 noted above as well as to increased incidence of coronary artery disease.

Noise pollution is also a cause of annoyance. A 2005 study by Spanish researchers found that in urban areas households are willing to pay approximately four Euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

s per decibel per year for noise reduction.

Wildlife health

Noise can have a detrimental effect on animals, increasing the risk of death by changing the delicate balance in predator or prey detection and avoidance, and interfering the use of the sounds in communication especially in relation to reproduction and in navigation. Acoustic overexposure can lead to temporary or permanent loss of hearing.

An impact of noise on animal life is the reduction of usable habitat
Habitat destruction
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction by human activity mainly for the purpose of...

 that noisy areas may cause, which in the case of endangered species may be part of the path to extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

. Noise pollution has caused the death of certain species of whales that beached
Beached whale
A beached whale is a whale that has stranded itself on land, usually on a beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration, the body collapsing under its own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole.-Species:...

 themselves after being exposed to the loud sound of military sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

 (see also Marine mammals and sonar
Marine mammals and sonar
Active sonar, the transmission equipment used on some ships to assist with navigation, has been suggested to be detrimental to the health and livelihood of some marine animals, although the precise mechanisms for this are not well understood. Some marine animals, such as whales and dolphins, use...

).

Noise also makes species communicate louder, which is called Lombard vocal response
Lombard effect
thumb|250 px|[[Great tit]]s sing at a higher frequency in [[noise pollution|noise polluted]] urban surroundings than quieter ones to help overcome the [[auditory masking]] that would otherwise impair other birds hearing their [[bird vocalization|song]]...

. Scientists and researchers have conducted experiments that show whales' song length is longer when submarine-detectors are on. If creatures do not "speak" loud enough, their voice will be masked by anthropogenic
Anthropogenic
Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes impacts on biophysical environments, biodiversity and other resources. The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first used in the technical sense by Russian...

 sounds. These unheard voices might be warnings, finding of prey, or preparations of net-bubbling. When one species begins speaking louder, it will mask
Mask
A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes...

 other species' voice, causing the whole ecosystem to eventually speak louder.

European Robins living in urban environments are more likely to sing at night in places with high levels of noise pollution during the day, suggesting that they sing at night because it is quieter, and their message can propagate through the environment more clearly. The same study showed that daytime noise was a stronger predictor of nocturnal singing than night-time light pollution
Light pollution
Light pollution, also known as photopollution or luminous pollution, is excessive or obtrusive artificial light.The International Dark-Sky Association defines light pollution as:...

, to which the phenomenon is often attributed.

Zebra finch
Zebra Finch
The Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata, is the most common and familiar estrildid finch of Central Australia and ranges over most of the continent, avoiding only the cool moist south and the tropical far north. It also can be found natively in Indonesia and East Timor...

es become less faithful to their partners when exposed to traffic noise. This could alter a population's evolutionary trajectory by selecting traits, sapping resources normally devoted to other activities and thus lead to profound genetic and evolutionary consequences.

Impact in the United Kingdom

Figures compiled by Rockwool, the mineral wool
Mineral wool
Mineral wool, mineral fibers or man-made mineral fibers are fibers made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. The latter term is generally used to refer solely to synthetic materials including fiberglass, ceramic fibers and stone wool...

 insulation
Building insulation
building insulation refers broadly to any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation...

 manufacturer, based on responses from local authorities to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request reveal in the period April 2008 – 2009 UK councils
County council
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.-United Kingdom:...

 received 315,838 complaints about noise pollution from private residences. This resulted in environmental health officers across the UK serving 8,069 noise abatement notices, or citations under the terms of the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act. In the last 12 months, 524 confiscations of equipment have been authorised involving the removal of powerful speakers, stereos and televisions. Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council
Westminster City Council is the local authority for the City of Westminster in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council and is entitled to be known as a city council, which is a rare distinction in the United Kingdom. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors...

 has received more complaints per head of population than any other district in the UK with 9,814 grievances about noise, which equates to 42.32 complaints per thousand residents. Eight of the top 10 councils ranked by complaints per 1,000 residents are located in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

Mitigation and control of noise

Technology to mitigate or remove noise can be applied as follows:

There are a variety of strategies for mitigating roadway noise
Roadway noise
Roadway noise is the collective sound energy emanating from motor vehicles. In the USA it contributes more to environmental noise exposure than any other noise source, and is constituted chiefly of engine, tire, aerodynamic and braking elements...

  including: use of noise barrier
Noise barrier
A noise barrier is an exterior structure designed to protect sensitive land uses from noise pollution...

s, limitation of vehicle speeds, alteration of roadway surface texture, limitation of heavy vehicles, use of traffic controls that smooth vehicle flow to reduce braking and acceleration, and tire design. An important factor in applying these strategies is a computer model for roadway noise
Roadway noise
Roadway noise is the collective sound energy emanating from motor vehicles. In the USA it contributes more to environmental noise exposure than any other noise source, and is constituted chiefly of engine, tire, aerodynamic and braking elements...

, that is capable of addressing local topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, traffic operations and hypothetical mitigation. Costs of building-in mitigation can be modest, provided these solutions are sought in the planning stage of a roadway project.

Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise is noise pollution produced by any aircraft or its components, during various phases of a flight: on the ground while parked such as auxiliary power units, while taxiing, on run-up from propeller and jet exhaust, during take off, underneath and lateral to departure and arrival paths,...

 can be reduced to some extent by design of quieter jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

s, which was pursued vigorously in the 1970s and 1980s. This strategy has brought limited but noticeable reduction of urban sound levels. Reconsideration of operations, such as altering flight paths and time of day runway use, has demonstrated benefits for residential populations near airports. FAA sponsored residential retrofit (insulation) programs initiated in the 1970s has also enjoyed success in reducing interior residential noise in thousands of residences across the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Exposure of workers to Industrial noise
Industrial noise
Industrial noise is usually considered mainly from the point of view of environmental health and safety, rather than nuisance, as sustained exposure can cause permanent hearing damage. Traditionally, occupational noise has been a hazard linked to heavy industries such as ship-building and...

 has been addressed since the 1930s. Changes include redesign of industrial equipment, shock mounting assemblies and physical barriers in the workplace.

Noise Free America
Noise Free America
Noise Free America is a national, non-profit organization aimed at reducing noise pollution in the community. The organization’s main target is noise from boom cars , leaf blowers, motorcycles, and car alarms....

, a national anti-noise pollution organization, regularly lobbies for the enforcement of noise ordinances at all levels of government.

Legal status

Governments up until the 1970s viewed noise as a "nuisance" rather than an environmental problem. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 there are federal standards for highway and aircraft noise; states and local governments typically have very specific statutes on building codes, urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 and roadway development. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the EU there are few national, provincial, or state laws that protect against noise.

Noise laws and ordinances vary widely among municipalities and indeed do not even exist in some cities. An ordinance may contain a general prohibition against making noise that is a nuisance, or it may set out specific guidelines for the level of noise allowable at certain times of the day and for certain activities.

Dr. Paul Herman wrote the first comprehensive noise codes in 1975 for Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

 with funding from the EPA
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (Environmental Protection Agency) and HUD (Housing and Urban Development). The Portland Noise Code became the basis for most other ordinances for major U.S. and Canadian metropolitan regions.

Most city ordinance
Local ordinance
A local ordinance is a law usually found in a municipal code.-United States:In the United States, these laws are enforced locally in addition to state law and federal law.-Japan:...

s prohibit sound above a threshold intensity from trespassing over property line at night, typically between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and during the day restricts it to a higher sound level; however, enforcement is uneven. Many municipalities do not follow up on complaints. Even where a municipality has an enforcement office, it may only be willing to issue warnings, since taking offenders to court is expensive.

The notable exception to this rule is the City of Portland Oregon which has instituted an aggressive protection for its citizens with fines reaching as high at $5000 per infraction, with the ability to cite a responsible noise violator multiple times in a single day.

Many conflicts over noise pollution are handled by negotiation between the emitter and the receiver. Escalation procedures vary by country, and may include action in conjunction with local authorities, in particular the police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

. Noise pollution often persists because only five to ten percent of people affected by noise will lodge a formal complaint
Complaint
In legal terminology, a complaint is a formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties In legal terminology, a complaint is a formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons (see: cause of action) that the filing party or parties In...

. Many people are not aware of their legal right to quiet and do not know how to register a complaint.

Noise pollution is a major problem in countries like India during the festivals of Diwali
Diwali
Diwali or DeepavaliThe name of the festival in various regional languages include:, , , , , , , , , , , , , popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons...

, Navratri and Ganpati. The Government of India has regulations against fire crackers and loudspeakers but enforcement is extremely lax.

See also

  • J. Win Austin, Los Angeles City Council member, 1941–43, condemned airplane noise

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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