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Understanding Noise Pollution: Causes and Effects
Noise pollution is an invisible danger across the land and sea. It is an unwanted noise that affects the health and well-being of human beings and other floral and faunal species. Sounds can be naturally melodic such as the whistling of leaves but those above 85 decibels can be harmful to our ears. Sounds above this threshold include power lawnmowers (90 decibels) and rock concerts (110 to 120 decibels). Other sources of noise pollution are the bursting of crackers, loudspeakers and noise from industrial machines. Here in this article, we will help you know about the causes and effects of noise pollution.
Causes of noise pollution
Though noise pollution is caused by a variety of factors and activities, the primary causes are as follows:
Industries throughout India and the world use large machines to produce goods and products. Along with these machines, other equipment, such as exhaust fans, grinding mills and compressors, contribute to unwanted noise. This noise adversely affects the industry workers, nearby residents and the birds, animals and plants in the surrounding areas. Industries that are key contributors to noise pollution are the construction industry, manufacturing industries, and many more. These industries also causes air pollution. However, a holistic approach can help mitigate noise and air pollution that originates from industries, including engineering solutions, compliance with environmental regulations and many more things.
Noise pollution reaches its peak in social events, whether it is a wedding, party, or a place of worship. Though the government has drafted rules and even banned the use of loudspeakers at some places, people often flout them and create a nuisance for others. People play songs at full volume and dance all night without any concern for the rest of the public. In markets, you may have seen people playing loud music to attract the attention of buyers, which may seem innocuous at first but is capable of causing hearing problems upon its continuous exposure. Adhering to the local regulations and creating awareness among people are some ways by which a peaceful environment can be created.
Poor urban planning
Poor urban planning leads to congested houses, fights over parking and other issues, which lead to noise pollution. Also, when residential and commercial properties are constructed in proximity, the noise from the industries might adversely affect the health of the people living nearby. As a student, you can take many proactive steps to improve urban planning, starting from educating yourself on urban planning to advocating for smart homes.
Numerous vehicles on the road, aeroplanes and trains are the major sources of noise pollution in urban and industrialized areas. Additionally, the continuous honking of horns adds to the noise pollution. Some ways that can help mitigate noise pollution are constructing noise barriers along highways, using quieter engines, spreading awareness to reduce honking, etc. Schools in Baddi play a prominent role in spreading awareness by educating students and people on the harmful effects of noise pollution and taking initiatives, such as planting trees, to reduce noise pollution.
Electronic gadgets that we use daily, such as TV, mobile, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners and washing machines, cause noise, though not as high as a few other sources, but they can still disrupt the peace in the neighbourhood. Using equipment that creates less noise can help reduce the noise produced by our day-to-day household work.
Effects of noise pollution
Sleep, work, rest and communication are significantly affected by noise pollution. It damages our hearing and affects our psychological health. Let us find out the effects of noise.
Noise pollution causes two types of hearing loss: Temporary and Permanent.
Temporary loss happens when an individual is exposed to excessive noise for a short period.
Permanent loss happens when an individual is exposed to excessive noise for a prolonged period. It usually happens in high frequencies over 4000 hertz.
If noise and speech happen simultaneously, one can’t convey his/her message to others. And if this happens in a factory setting, it can be even more dangerous, as failure to hear warning signals can lead to fatal injuries and accidents.
In the presence of noise, the blood vessels that feed the brain dilate, which is why we experience headaches when we listen to music in high volume for a long time. Some other health problems resulting from noise pollution are as follows.
Prolonged exposure to loud noise also causes insomnia, irritability, and other digestive issues.
The key takeaways
Noise pollution is an underestimated environmental issue that requires everyone's attention as it impacts the quality and well-being of people. Schools, communities, local bodies, businesses and individuals should come together to reduce the impact of noise pollution and help make a calmer environment.