- 1 Overview
- 2 The 9 Major Causes of Noise Pollution
In the present day world, everyone knows that not only humans but each and every living species is endangered due to pollution. Pollution is not only of a single kind, there are different types of pollution like air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution(sound pollution), and many more. We have already discussed the causes of air pollution. Many think that noise/sound pollution is not as dangerous as other pollution.
However, underestimating noise pollution is a big mistake. The World Health Organization considered noise pollution to be one of the most dangerous kinds of pollution. The European Environment Agency’s study shows that about 12,000 premature deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations are due to noise pollution every year in the continent of Europe itself.
In our everyday life at every instance, we come across some sources of noise pollution. Metropolitan cities all over the world have become the epicenter of noise pollution and its sources are many different things. This mix of noise pollution is becoming more and more dangerous for everyone in the world. As we know, not only humans but animals are also affected by it. According to the National Park Service of the United States, noise pollution majorly impacts the environment and its consequences on the animal are very dangerous as well.
According to the World Health Organization, when a sound is above 65 decibels, it is called sound pollution or noise pollution. In other words, it can also be defined as sound or noise which is excessive and unpleasant and causes a temporary disruption in nature.
When the noise is more than 80 decibels, it is considered to be harmful, and if it reaches above 120 decibels, it is considered painful. Noise below 65 decibels is considered normal during the daytime. However, at night, the sound level should be below 30 decibels. Otherwise, it is not good for human sleep.
Noise pollution is mainly divided into two types-
1. Man-made Noise Pollution
Man-made noise pollution, as it suggests, is caused by the activities of humans. These activities usually generate sound between 30 decibels to 140 decibels. There are many activities that produce such high sounds like – traffic vehicles, construction work, household noises, the sound of speakers from big functions, etc.
2. Environmental noise pollution
Environmental noise pollution is generally caused by the things that are happening in nature. These types of sounds are very high in decimals. Some examples of environmental noise pollution are thunderstorms, volcanic eruptions, etc.
The 9 Major Causes of Noise Pollution
Following are the 9 major causes of noise pollution:
When we talk about industrial noise pollution the main cause for it is generally the large machinery and plants used in industry. Industrial noise pollution can be very harmful and dangerous not only for the people working there but also for the people who are living surrounding these industries. Depending upon the sounds of these industries and their amplitude-frequency and range, this may feel annoying. However, in serious cases, this may disturb the speech and hearing capacity of a person causing some irreversible damage to their hearing.
The workers of the shipping and steelwork industries are most vulnerable to damages caused by industrial noise pollution. In these industries usually, very large machines are used that produce sounds over 110 decibels which are considered to be very harmful to living beings. According to vast research, it is found that only a single-time exposure to sounds over 110 decibels can cause some instant hearing problems.
The most common types of problems workers in an industrial area face along with loss of hearing are psychological trauma, headache, and neurological disorders. Some other disorders caused by industrial sound pollution are high blood pressure, anger issues, communication difficulties, stress & anxiety fatigue, sleep disturbance, and productivity loss.
2. Sound Pollution on Roads
Vehicles have become a part of our lives and each and every year more and more vehicles are introduced onto the roads. However, with the increase in vehicles, noise pollution has also increased drastically. Engine noise, horns, and vehicle exhaust are major sources of road noise pollution. It is the big cities and towns that are affected the most by noise pollution on roads.
These loud sounds can be very harmful to humans and cause mental distress which would eventually lead to road rage, physical discomfort, headache, etc. The effect of sound pollution in the surrounding area is to be taken seriously as every year the number of people moving to personal vehicles increases. Many people all over the world nowadays try to avoid busy places or highways because of the noise pollution in these areas.
The persons who are most affected by noise pollution are drivers and passengers of public transportation. The people who travel by buses, trains and the subway are always exposed to a high level of noise pollution which can cause some serious hearing issues.
Many countries in their major cities have tried to reduce this sound pollution from roads and highways by implementing sound barriers. These various types are mainly installed in areas that have a high-density of population and are highly exposed to noise pollution. The implementation of sound barriers or walls which are effective near a residential area could be the solution for the transport departments. It is observed that in many areas using these solutions, the health of a person generally and the stress to their ears has reduced drastically. Sometimes traffic signs – “Horn Prohibited” are installed mostly near schools or hospitals to reduce these effects.
3. Social Events
Social events can be considered one of the major contributors to noise pollution. All over the world, thousands of social events are held every day. In places like pubs, marriage venues, religious venues, parties, etc., we usually see that the sound from the speakers is maximum. All these places might have rules and revolutions set by local authorities but these rules are usually overlooked. This results in the creation of chaos and nuisance in those areas.
Localities that are situated near these places are highly vulnerable to the effects of noise pollution. Some people play music at high volume throughout the night causing huge problems for the people living around. In markets also, we see that shopkeepers use speakers to attract customers by canvassing their products.
In recent times in major cities, one more cause of noise pollution is holding major events by bringing big celebrities. In these events, the sounds are extremely high and not only the people who are in these events are affected but also the residents who are living near such events.
Many people would think that accusing these events as the cause of noise pollution is hilarious. But over a long time, the effects of these would be visible. The people who are exposed to such high sound frequency would eventually start having hearing problems.
The human population in the world is increasing day by day so, to accommodate and provide places to work, every day, thousands of constructions are done. Construction of new buildings, bridges, dams, different types of roads, flyovers, and stations is being done at a rapid pace. Although these things are done to fulfill the necessity of the human race. But, one cannot hide the fact that a lot of noise pollution is also called during these construction works.
Besides human activities during construction work, a lot of huge construction machines are operated during work and they make an annoying noise while they are running, which gives power to noise pollution.
In the short term, people tend to ignore this but in the long run, they understand how the sound from construction work has affected their hearing. The people affected by construction work sound pollution are mainly the workers who do not have the proper gears to combat the sounds during construction. Moreover, the people who live around a construction site or pass by a construction site also face the same issue afterward.
The effects mentioned below are caused by the noise pollution of construction:
➵ Permanent or partial hearing loss.
➵ Poor sleep quality.
➵ Ear pain.
➵ Cardiovascular effects.
5. Poor Urban Planning
Poor urban planning is seen in all the developing and underdeveloped countries of the world. In these countries, due to a lack of proper government rules and regulations along with a lack of knowledge among the people, houses are built in close proximity. In some places, it is seen that the majority of the city is settled in this unplanned manner. Due to this lack of space, we see that large joint families stay in this small house. There is a lack of space for parking and other basic and essential needs. This ultimately leads to fights and quarrels among neighbors on a regular basis. These fights are usually very loud which ultimately contributes to noise pollution.
We also see that in these localities, whenever a house is having functions or parties, the neighbor beside the house also has to hear the sounds from the house, and thus they face sound pollution as well. Another thing is “household sounds” which also contribute much effectively to noise pollution due to poor urban planning.
It is also seen that people try to build their houses near industrial areas in which they work to save their cost of travel. However, doing so ultimately becomes very dangerous to them because of the industrial noises which not only disturb their sleep and laser time but also affect their hearing. This noisy environment is also considered bad for young children as this is a problem to give knowledge because of all these sounds which often disturb them and make them feel irritated as well. Read Also: Acceptable Noise Levels for Different Buildings.
6. Household sounds
Nowadays, every minor work of the house can be done with the help of some machines. These gadgets have become a part and parcel of everyone’s life and without them, many face problems to manage the work of their house. The extensive use of gadgets like TV, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, mixer grinder, cookers, dryers, air coolers, etc. contribute very minorly to noise pollution but still, they are noisy enough to be harmful to us. These noises caused by all these gadgets have some effects on our day-to-day life which we don’t usually relate to.
Many consider the noises from his gadgets harmless but in reality, they are harmful. In many cases, these are the reasons for anxiety, causing hearing problems, etc. These sounds from the gadgets are very harmful to the surroundings as well as the wildlife as well.
7. Air traffic sound
Airplanes have become one of the major ways of traveling from one place to another. But it has not been considered by many as a cause of noise pollution. However, if one hears the sound of an aircraft, one can clearly understand how loud the aircraft is.
The sound of a single airplane reaches 130 decibels. Now, if we take into consideration all the airplanes that fly in the air space, it eventually becomes one of the main causes of noise pollution. The people who reside near an airport are highly exposed to the noises of airplanes during taking off and landing. These sounds are usually of very high decibels and are very harmful to anyone living around an airport.
Moreover, if we take into account the fighter jets which have big engines and produce a lot of noise, it clearly shows how much sound pollution is caused by them as well.
8. Volcanic Eruptions and Thunderstorms
Volcanic eruptions and thunderstorms can be considered one of the major natural causes of noise pollution. All over the world, there are hundreds of volcanoes that are active. These volcanoes keep on erupting every now and then. Sometimes the eruptions are small but many times they are big and these big eruptions usually cause a loud sound.
In the same way, throughout the year, thousands of thunderstorms are witnessed in the whole world. We clearly know how loud these thunderstorms usually are which contributes to noise pollution.
9. Animal Sound
The sounds of animals like – howl and bark also contribute to some extent to noise pollution. These howling and barking sounds usually are loud and between 60 to 80 decibels. So, although animals contribute minimally to noise pollution, still cannot be ignored. Read Also: 14 Causes of Soil Pollution.