UP's Moradabad is now the 2nd most noise polluted city globally as per the Annual Frontier Report 2022 and this report is been published by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In this city the noise pollution is recorded around 114 decibels.
The report has identified various problems as well as solutions to deal with the issue of noise pollution. They have talked about three specific environmental issues: number one urban noise pollution, number two wildfire and number three is phenological shifts. Environmental noise or noise pollution is a propagation of noise due to which there is a negative impact on the lives of both humans and animals. In this report there is a mention of around 62 cities and the highest noise pollution that is of 119db is seen in Dhaka Bangladesh and the third place is Pakistan's capital Islamabad, where the noise pollution level has been recorded at 105db.
The report identities 13 cities from South Asia where there is some concerns related with noise pollution and out of these 14 cities 5 are from India only. Moradabad ranks one with 114db then there is Kolkata 89db, Asansol 89db, Jaipur 84db and Delhi 83db. The report has been prepared by observing the daytime traffics or vehicles as any sound which is having a frequency of over 70db are considered as harmful for the health of both humans and animals. As per the WHO 55db of noise is considered to be standard in 1999 and for traffic driven areas or buisness near areas 70db was considered as standard. However, in 2018 WHO reconsidered these standards of noise and now they set the limit of noise pollution on the road at 53db in 2018 by citing health related concerns. 20% citizens of European countries who are exposed to this noise pollution have harmful impacts on their health.
Any individual who is exposed to the noise of 85db for 8 hours continuously then that person can loose the ability to hear permanently. Even if you are exposed to low noise pollution then also it will affect your physical and mental health. Here I am mentioning few decible sounds which are healthy for your ears and for your health as well:
1. Rustling leaves-10db-Healthy Sound
2. Ticking of a watch-20db-Healthy Sound
3. Whisper-30db-Healthy Sound
4. Quiet Living Room-40db-Healthy Sound
5. Rain-50db-Healthy Sound but not fully
6. Conversation in loud-60db-Unhealthy Sound
7. Passenger Car-70db-Unhealthy Sound
8. Truck-90db-Unhealthy Sound
9. Jackhammer-100db-Unhealthy Sound
10. Rock band-110db-Unhealthy Sound
11. Aircraft on take off-120db-Unhealthy Sound
12. Threshold of pain-130db-Unhealthy Sound.
This report mentions the example of European cities, as due to constant noise pollution in Europe there is around 12,000 premature deaths is seen annually, 48,000 new cases of heart disease and 22 million people suffer from irritability. A 15 year long study was conducted in Toronto Canada which say that due to excessive traffic noises there is an 8% increase of heart attacks, heart failure and diabetes among people and while hypertension increased in 2.1% of people.
Another study which was conducted in Korea says that any increase or even a 1db increase of sound in a day can increase the risk of Cardiac and Cerebrovascular diseases by 0.17% to 0.66%. As we can prevent other forms of pollution the same can be done with noise pollution as well. However, there are certain steps been taken by the government and the civil society groups but that has shown no results on grounds.
Now the major question is that from where does the problem of noise pollution starts in cities? Sources can be construction sites 90db, train horns 110db, light traffic 80db, heavy traffic 100db, wild frog croak 100db and wild birds 80db, however these two are environmental noise but others are something which can be controlled. Causes of noise pollution are many like improper way of doing urbanization, industrialization, transportation, events, construction etc.
There are some solutions as well which we can follow to avoid the health effects of noise pollution such as psychological disorder, Tinnitus, Annoyance, Brain problems, hearing problems, cardiovascular diseases, communication diseases, sleeping issues and effects on animals and plants. Solutions to regulate the noise pollution is to reduce sound in your space, turn off electronics, plant trees as trees act as a barrier of noise pollution, live in a quiet spaces, switch to EV's and use music devices on medium level.
There are two ways through which you can control the noise. At the construction site, the level of noise is very high and so if we can reduce the level of noises at the construction site then it will be very helpful for everyone in terms of ensuring good health. One way to control the noise is the Engineering controls in which such machines are used which have a very low noise, maintaince and lubrication of machine can be effective as well in terms of controlling the noise pollution and placing a barrier between the noise and worker. The second way to control the noise is the administrative controls in which use high noise machines on your site where there are less people present on site, we can limit the amount of time what a workers is spending in a noisy area and we can also provide quite areas where they are taking break so that they can have some relief.