Noise Pollution Essay
To understand the concept of Noise, let us first get a clearer picture of sound. A sound is basically a form of energy that travels through the vibrations of atoms in its medium. A sound can be pleasant as well as unpleasant, and continuous exposure to an unpleasant sound can be termed Noise. Noise Pollution or sound pollution can be understood as the unwanted or disturbing sound that propagates into the environment and has a ranging effect on the well-being of the animals as well as humans hearing it. The main sources of outdoor Noise are transportation, construction, machinery etc.
Types of Noise Pollution
There are different causes of noise pollution depending upon the type of noise pollution that is referred to. Let us know about the type of noise pollution and then narrow down its causes.
1. Transport Noise
Transport Noise is caused by continuous industrialization, which has been there mostly in the urban areas. The continuous development of roads, railways, and highways has led to the formation of web-like connections of roads and lanes that increases traffic and eventually leads to noise pollution. The continuous development has also led to a steep rise in the number of vehicles in the urban areas that have a huge chunk contribution to transport Noise Pollution.
2. Neighbourhood Noise
This type of Noise mainly consists of various types of appliances, utensils, home gadgets, church bells, etc. The sound pollution that has its roots in the surrounding areas of people's homes is called neighbourhood noise pollution. This can also include musical instruments like drums, guitars etc. Some gadgets like loudspeakers and amplifiers also cause this type of noise pollution.
3. Industrial Noise
The type of noise pollution that is caused by the heavy and extremely loud industrial machines that are there at industrial sights is called industrial Noise. Such type of noise results in damaging the ability to hear to nearly about 20%.
Sources and Causes of Noise Pollution
There are some concrete sources and causes of noise pollution, which are listed below:
As mentioned earlier, industrialization results in a great increase in sound or noise pollution and the reason for the same is the continuous use of heavy machinery, for example, large exhaust fans, huge generators, and mills, which have been utilized, giving rise to noise pollution.
Urbanization has led to an increased number of vehicles running on the complex road webs causing noise pollution and making it hard for humans or animals to stand that sound.
In addition to all this, public events do play their role in giving rise to noise pollution. Be it Weddings, birthdays, public gatherings or any other event whatsoever, they all involve loudspeakers for playing music which results in producing unwanted Noise in the surrounding, which falls under the category of neighbourhood noise.
Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Health
We all know that noise pollution can be very hazardous to human beings. Here are some details about Noise affects human health.
Hypertension is caused by the elevation of blood levels for a long period of time, and noise pollution is the rooting cause of hypertension. This condition, if not dealt with care, can further lead to more complex situations like heart diseases and stroke.
2. Hearing loss
Hearing impairment is one of the most obvious results of noise pollution. When humans are exposed to sound that is higher than the intensity that our ears have a habit of enduring, it damages the eardrums and, if not dealt with carefully, eventually leads to loss of hearing of a person.
3. Sleeping disorders
Lack of sleep leads to many things, including fatigue and having a low energy level throughout the day, which eventually hinders everyday activities in a person's life. Noise pollution leads to a bad sleep cycle which eventually causes irritation and an uncomfortable mental state. People with sleeping disorders might also face mental health problems.
4. Cardiovascular issues
Just as mentioned above, a person surrounded by noise pollution suffers from hypertension, and if not treated, it might result in permanent cardiovascular problems. There are many heart-related problems faced by the people, such as blood pressure levels, cardiovascular diseases and stress that might as well develop in a normal person, and if there is a person who is already suffering from any of these diseases might as well have his/her condition worsened.
The unit in which sound is measured is called decibels (dB). Different types of sound that are present in the environment have different intensity; for example, the sound of rustling leaves have an intensity of 20 to 30 decibels, a thunderclap has 120 decibels, and the wail of a siren has 120 to 140 decibels. Sounds that have an intensity of 85 decibels or higher have the capability of harming a person's ear. There are many types of sources through which sounds of this intensity are emitted, for example, subway trains (90 to 115 decibels), power lawn mowers (90 decibels), and loud rock concerts (110 to 120 decibels).
Impacts of Noise Pollution
1. On Humans
Noise pollution causes a serious impact on a number of people daily. Noise Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL is the most common problem caused by noise pollution. Exposing ourselves to high noises can cause serious problems, including high blood pressure, stress, heart diseases, hypertension and sleep disturbance. The thing which makes noise pollution more hazardous is that such kind of noise problem not only affects elder people but its impact can also be seen on every age group, especially children. Children who have their houses close to noisy airports, streets and busy roads are reported to be suffering from problems such as stress, lack of attention to things, poor reading skills, insomnia and so on.
2. On Terrestrial Animals
It is not only the human population that is affected by this invincible problem that is Noise pollution, but it also has its dangerous impacts on the health and well-being of wild animals. It is shown in some studies that loud noises can affect caterpillars' dorsal vessels (which are equivalent to a human heart) by making them beat faster. It also causes bluebirds to give birth to lesser chicks. Sound is a key factor in the lives of animals, and they use it to perform a lot of activities. For example, they use it to navigate, find food, avoid predators and also to attract mates in order to perform reproduction. Noise pollution hinders such tasks of wild animals, reducing their ability to survive.
3. On Underwater Life
Noise pollution is a serious problem not just for the life that is present on the land, but it is also affecting the life of aquatic animals. Technological operations and machines, including ships, oil drills, seismic tests and sonar devices, have turned the peaceful aquatic life chaotic and loud. Some animals like dolphins and whales are particularly disturbed due to noise pollution. Such aquatic mammals are totally dependent upon echolocation for activities such as feeding, communication, navigation and finding mates, and their ability of effective echolocation is hindered due to excessive noise underwater.
Naval sonar devices are the reason for some of the loudest Noise under the sea. Sonar has its mechanism similar to echolocation, i.e., sending sound waves into the depth of the ocean to reach the bottom, over an object and bounce back the eco to the surface, which would indicate the position of the object. Sonar sound waves can be really loud (around 235 decibels) as they have to travel thousands of miles under the sea, and they hinder the echolocation process of whales. Studies have stated that sonar is capable of causing a number of strandings of whales on the coasts and interfering with the feeding habits of endangered blue whales. People involved with environment conservation are requesting states not to use sonar for military training.
Seismic surveys also are not any less in polluting the environment through Noise. It ejects loud blasts of sound inside the ocean, causing harm to marine life. Ships which are in search of gas oils etc., fire guns down to the ocean bed resulting in high-intensity noises which are unpleasant and can cause serious injuries to marine water animals. It may also damage their ears.
The louder the noise the more damage that can be caused to us and the wildlife, resulting in permanent hearing loss in humans or survival difficulty in animals, as written above. The serious injuries that are caused to terrestrial and aquatic life are a matter of concern and should be looked upon very carefully.
Certain measures could be taken by us to prevent noise pollution and protect ourselves. They include:
Turning the appliances off
We can switch off the appliances at our home or work when they are not being used by anyone. For example, we can turn the TV off when no one is watching it, and gaming systems can be turned off after a little use; computers can be shut down when they aren't being used by anyone. These appliances create unwanted and unnecessary stress on our ears and lead to various health issues.
Don't let noise leave the door
We can avoid keeping the door open when using noisy appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. We can close the door before switching them on so that harsh noises such as that of grinders and washers do not directly reach us and harm our ears.
Another way of performing these safety measures is by constructing noisy work areas in such a way that their noise doesn't travel out of the rooms. Installation of a sound barrier might also help.
Using things like earplugs or earmuffs can be of great benefit to our ears as they cancel out the harsh noise that comes to our ears. Earplugs cover the insides of our ears and lower the sound intensity, and earmuffs cover the whole of our ear, stopping Noise from reaching our ears. Such hearing protections play a vital role in preventing our ears from noise pollution. Workers working under conditions in which they are exposed to 80 decibels should be provided with hearing protection, and people who are exposed to Noise of intensity 85 decibels or more should wear hearing protection daily.
Reducing the volume
When we are listening to music on our mobile phones or radios or watching television, we can prevent noise pollution by lowing the volume, be it on speaker or on our headphones, to avoid noise from harming us.
Social distancing from noise
This precaution is something that should be taken not only by us but by the government as well. Building things such as airports, industries, and railway tracks away from the residential areas may provide help in reducing health hazards due to noise to a large number of people. As people, we should have our houses away from noisy places.
Limits of noise
The government should take measures by creating laws that check the intensity of noise in our neighbourhood, such as loudspeakers, public gatherings and public announcements by politicians. Keeping noise in check can help in reducing it.
Strict control should be acquired over the noise levels in sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, old age homes etc. Sign boards indicating noise levels should be installed in the corners of sensitive areas.
Plants as a solution
Trees are considered to be very efficient noise absorbents. In order to reduce noise pollution, we can plant more and more trees by conducting plantation drives as plants have the ability to reduce the Noise around them by 5 to 10 decibels.
Good Noise could save the day
When there are too many unwanted noises that we cannot kill, then there is something creative we can do to avoid the problem of noise pollution, and that is by creating healthier Noise such as that of music, hummingbirds, water fountains in offices and homes.
Using noise absorbers
Noise absorbers can be a very useful measure that can be taken in order to reduce harsh noises that comes out from wearing out parts of old machinery. We can get our machines checked and install silencers and vibration dampers inside our machines and tools to prevent them from making Noise. Lubrication of our tools and machines is also very important to Reduce Noise. Also, installing shock absorbers in huge and heavy machines helps a lot in preventing Noise.