According to the Environmental Protection Agency of United States, approximately 5 million children suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).Noise pollution in simple terms can be defined as the generation of more-than-tolerable and displeasing sound in the environment affecting its components. Among the various sources of this type of pollution, automobiles, aircraft and other transport systems contribute the maximum sound production. Other noise pollution causes include industrial machinery, office equipment, vehicular horns, car alarms, sirens, bursting of firecrackers, and audio speakers.
Excess noise has a major impact on humans and animals, affecting them in their behavioral and physiological health. Living in a noisy neighborhood or visiting discotheques frequently leads to stress, restlessness, sleep disorders, and hearing loss in humans. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise exacerbates hypertension and cardiovascular symptoms. Considering these noise pollution effects on human health, it is high time that we should enforce noise pollution solutions.
Remedial Measures for Noise Pollution
Unlike the other types of environmental problems such as air and water pollution, noise or sound is transient or short-lived. Compared to other pollutions, reduction and control of pollution cause due to noise is considered subjective and tough to monitor. Nonetheless, it is still an achievable target. The following is a list of various ways that will help you combat this form of pollution.
Analysis of Domestic Sound Levels
In order to put a check on the decibels, one should start by monitoring the noise levels at one's house. Usage of equipment that we use on daily basis such as washing machines, mixers and grinders, vacuum cleaner, radio, television and the like can be operated on a minimal level, thereby cutting down on disruptive sound generation.
As mentioned already, automobiles account to the highest production of noise. Regular servicing of the vehicles is an effectual measure to lower the intensity of sound produced by them. If the silencers of vehicles are maintained at regular intervals, the amount of production of noise reduces at a faster rate.
Similar to vehicles, the quality of machines should be optimized, so as to reduce sound production. Sound reaches an alarming and potentially threatening stage beyond 80 decibels. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 million Americans are exposed to noise pollution at workplaces. Lubrication of the machinery and servicing should be done to minimize noise generation. This also helps in improving the shelf life of the machine. Production of hybrid and electric cars can also aid in lowering the noise levels.
Soundproofing Buildings and Houses
Soundproof doors and windows can be installed to block unwanted noise from outside. The design of your house or building can be incorporated with noise absorbing materials available in the market. These soundproofing options are of utmost importance for complete relaxation, especially if you are staying in a crowded city area.
Sound masking, an exact opposite implementation of soundproofing, helps 'mask' the already existing noise by using the method of active addition of noise. This active addition overlaps or masks the troublesome surrounding noise and thus results in a peaceful environment. Various apartments, offices, restaurants, and hotels have implemented this technique using devices such as the white noise machine, to drown out the disturbing noise levels in the surrounding areas.
Planting bushes and trees in and around sound generating sources is another effective solution for noise pollution. Dense shrubs and trees block sound passage, thus avoiding disturbance to the surrounding areas. This greenbelt development is among one of the statutory ordinances that have to be followed by industries wherein they have to develop a green cover that is 4 times the amount of pollution generated, which includes excessive noise.
Prohibition of Loudspeakers
Using loudspeaker in public areas is another major cause of noise pollution. This should be banned at any cost for the welfare of the people. Strict laws should be imposed against those who violate and play loudspeakers in crowded areas and public places.
Industries, especially the ones involving manufacturing of products that generate a large amount of sound generation, should be set up in the outskirts of a city and away from its permissible sound limits. Installation of sound detectors and buffers will help in analyzing the sound frequencies on a regular basis.
Along with the aforementioned measures, the government or the city council have implemented certain measures in terms of long term planning and development of the city. Thus it is our responsibility to abide by the enforced rules and regulations which will aid in bringing down the pollution levels to a large extent.