The phenomenon of noise pollution is described as the creation of displeasing sounds which lead to the disruption of balance of human life and the natural surroundings. The menace of noise pollution which got aggravated because of industrial revolution is the underlying cause of many health problems which we humans suffer from. Here is more on this topic.
Noise Pollution - Introduction
Noise pollution has many harmful effects on the physiological and psychological health of human beings. The effects of noise pollution on the health include hypertension, annoyance, high stress levels, aggression, hearing loss, tinnitus, sleep disturbance and many such health problems. Apart from traffic and industrial machinery, poor urban planning is also one of the causes of noise pollution.
Causes of Noise Pollution
The sources/causes of noise pollution increased in number with the invention of machines. Here are the different causes of noise pollution.
It is the biggest source of noise pollution in today's times, especially in urban areas. In the past few years, the rate of automobile manufacturing has increased manifold. Traffic problems created by these vehicles is an important source of noise pollution. Sound produced by the exhaust systems of trucks, autos, buses, motorcycles, etc. cause a lot of noise. The noise created by a bus or truck is 10-15 times that of a car. Use of diesel which results into high airborne vibration emission is one of the reasons why trucks and buses cause greater amount of noise. Also, the noise created by road traffic gets amplified in narrow streets.
Locomotive engines of trains are an important source of noise pollution. Besides, the shunting and switching operations in rail yards too causes noise pollution to a great extent. The whistles and horns used by railway employees add to the effect and thereby, increase noise pollution.
The acceptable level of noise for the residential zones in urban areas is 35 dB-45 dB. The noise level should not exceed 75 dB in industrial areas.
The national parks and wastelands were earlier considered to be pollution free zones and people traveled to such places for relaxation. Nowadays, the sound created by low-flying military aircraft cause noise pollution in these areas too. Aerodynamic noise, the noise emanating from aircraft systems and mechanical noise are the different kinds of noise produced by an aircraft.
The machines used in industries are a major cause of noise pollution. The different machines responsible for creating noise include compressors, motors and other machinery. It is therefore recommended to grow trees in the premises of industries, which act as absorbents of noise. Trees grown in the premises of 'Tata Motors', an automobile company based in Pune (India) is the perfect example of how to reduce noise pollution in industrial belts.
The different types of machines and equipment used in the construction of roads and buildings is also an important cause of noise pollution. The machinery used for the purpose of construction includes pneumatic hammers, bulldozers, air compressors, dump trucks, loaders, sidewalk breakers, etc. is also responsible for noise pollution to a great extent.
The sound above the level of 45 dB holds the potential to create disturbances in sleep patterns. Ear pain can result from sound that is above 120 dB.
The household equipment are amongst the minor contributors to noise pollution. Such machines include the mixers, vacuum cleaners and other noise creating equipment. The effects of noise created by these machines cannot be neglected; this is because one has to work in close contact with the equipment. Moreover, the magnitude of sound one has to bear is quite high.
The boilers, plumbing equipment, air conditioners, generators and fans contribute to noise pollution to a small extent. Noise created by people in public places too is a major contributor. The loudspeakers used in public places are amongst the sources of noise of a high degree/amplitude. In countries like India, the use of loudspeakers during festivals creates a lot of noise. Bursting firecrackers during festivals is also one of the major causes of noise pollution.
Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)
It is a kind of partial hearing loss experienced when you are exposed to a loud, deafening sound. Ringing in ears is one of the experiences associated with partial hearing loss.
Natural Sources of Noise
All the above-mentioned sources of noise are man-made. However, there also are few natural sources of noise pollution. These sources are not given as much important as the man-made sources.
- Waves of the ocean and winds are the important sources of acoustic sounds.
- Noise created by vibrations can be experienced in the form of seismic movement.
- The noise associated with electromagnetic interference (EMI) is produced by the electromagnetic field of earth.
Noise Pollution Solutions
The different measures that one can undertake for reducing noise pollution are given below. Major sources of noise pollution include the automobiles and different types of machines. Regular servicing of automobiles should help in reducing the intensity of sound produced by them. Lubricating the machines used in day-to-day life proves to be helpful in ensuring their smooth (noiseless) functioning. Use of loudspeakers must be prohibited in public places. Soundproofing materials need to be used in the house to reduce noise pollution.
Noise pollution has far-reaching effects on our mental and physical well-being. It is therefore, necessary to take up the problem of noise pollution seriously. One should undertake appropriate steps to minimize the harmful effects of noise pollution.