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Community noise pollution  is it affecting you as well  | Upload Society

Noise Pollution: Is It Affecting You As Well?

by: Yvonne Doff
noise pollution  is it affecting you as well  | Upload

Did you know that one out of five Europeans is exposed to noise levels which are considered damaging to their health? Noise pollution is an environmental threat, and according to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), we should worry about this invisible form of contamination.

An Environmental Threat

Traffic noise could be way worse than you know. It affects millions of people a year. According to the EEA, long-term exposure to traffic noise, aeroplanes flying over, railways, causes 12,000 premature deaths per year, just in Europe. You may wonder why people die? Too much noise is not desirable for our blood pressure. Noise is bad for our blood pressure, it makes us susceptible to heart attacks, and most of all: daily, the noise has a negative influence on our mental health and wellbeing.

Did you know that more than six million Europeans cannot sleep well, because of noise? The University of Oxford published a paper on noise pollution, and it appears that there is a relation between increased levels of traffic noise (over a long period) and obesity. Legislation has been introduced to reduce noise, unfortunately, this has not changed since 2013.

Noise Pollution In the Anthropause

Or is it changed after all? Until the beginning of COVID-19, nothing changed. Early in the lockdown, seismologists tested the vibrations of the earth to detect erupting volcanoes and earthquakes that are generated by human noise. What appeared? It was at its lowest point. Scientists are calling it ‘the anthropause’. A wave of silence spread across the world when all countries were in lockdown.

The effect? The University of Cumbria in the UK researched the quietness concerning nature during ‘the anthropause’. They asked participants about their experience during this pause. People love to hear nature for the first time, 94 per cent is listening to birdsongs and noticing nature more than they would ordinarily. Could it be that we appreciate nature more than before? As life slowly returns to the pretence of everyday life and the noise begins to sneak in again, the challenge of maintaining this silence in our daily lives begins.

Noise Pollution: How To 'Save Silence’

The acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton is searching nature's rarest sounds around the world. His mission now is to 'save silence'. Noise pollution is a significant impact on our lives because we cannot hear silence. We are always aware of the danger because we hear so much. We live in a threatening world; how can we feel secure?

"Quietness could save the world", says Hempton. There is incredible biodiversity in a few silence places on earth. Together with Vikram Chauhan, he set up Quiet Parks International (QPI) to quantify the value of quiet places. The first Wilderness Quiet Park is located on the Zablo River in Ecuador. The absence of noise contamination is due to the lack of tourism.

QPI has also established a certification for quiet areas in densely populated places. So, for example, if you experience silence in Taiwan, you are experiencing the quiet of the Taiwanese. Urban quietness and wilderness quiet are a bit different. A city can never be free of noise, so the opinions on the noise level of urban places are cultural.

Hush City: The Sounds You Hear

How we perceive noise and silence is not all about measuring noise. Not all sounds are polluted. Hush City, designed by Dr Antonella Radicchi (architect and urban planner in Berlin), is an app to record people's feelings about sounds surrounding them.

This app is free and allows people to rate the sounds in their surroundings. Hush City is there to enable people to find and identify quiet places in their area and register them in the app. So, it is not a rating by decibel, but the perception of citizens. People's opinions and feelings about their favourite quiet place are taken into account.

If you download the app, you can record the "soundscape" using the microphone on your telephone. If you like, you can add a picture and answer a few questions about the quality of your chosen quiet area. Once the information is filed, this data is shared with the users of the app worldwide.

Up to now, councils in Berlin, Germany and Limerick, Ireland use Hush City to create Quiet Areas Plans. If we can identify the quiet place in a city, it would help us to maintain these quiet areas. And it would allow us to get a break of the daily noise pollution we are exposed to.

Before you go!

Recommended: We Destroy Nature! Still, It Wants To Protect Us

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
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Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

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Noise Pollution: Is It Affecting You As Well?

Did you know that one out of five Europeans is exposed to noise levels which are considered damaging to their health? Noise pollution is an environmental threat, and according to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), we should worry about this invisible form of contamination. An Environmental Threat Traffic noise could be way worse than you know. It affects millions of people a year. According to the EEA, long-term exposure to traffic noise, aeroplanes flying over, railways, causes 12,000 premature deaths per year, just in Europe. You may wonder why people die? Too much noise is not desirable for our blood pressure. Noise is bad for our blood pressure, it makes us susceptible to heart attacks, and most of all: daily, the noise has a negative influence on our mental health and wellbeing. Did you know that more than six million Europeans cannot sleep well, because of noise? The University of Oxford published a paper on noise pollution, and it appears that there is a relation between increased levels of traffic noise (over a long period) and obesity. Legislation has been introduced to reduce noise, unfortunately, this has not changed since 2013. Noise Pollution In the Anthropause Or is it changed after all? Until the beginning of COVID-19, nothing changed. Early in the lockdown, seismologists tested the vibrations of the earth to detect erupting volcanoes and earthquakes that are generated by human noise. What appeared? It was at its lowest point. Scientists are calling it ‘the anthropause’. A wave of silence spread across the world when all countries were in lockdown. The effect? The University of Cumbria in the UK researched the quietness concerning nature during ‘the anthropause’. They asked participants about their experience during this pause. People love to hear nature for the first time, 94 per cent is listening to birdsongs and noticing nature more than they would ordinarily. Could it be that we appreciate nature more than before? As life slowly returns to the pretence of everyday life and the noise begins to sneak in again, the challenge of maintaining this silence in our daily lives begins. Noise Pollution: How To 'Save Silence’ The acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton is searching nature's rarest sounds around the world. His mission now is to 'save silence'. Noise pollution is a significant impact on our lives because we cannot hear silence. We are always aware of the danger because we hear so much. We live in a threatening world; how can we feel secure? "Quietness could save the world", says Hempton. There is incredible biodiversity in a few silence places on earth. Together with Vikram Chauhan, he set up Quiet Parks International (QPI) to quantify the value of quiet places. The first Wilderness Quiet Park is located on the Zablo River in Ecuador. The absence of noise contamination is due to the lack of tourism. QPI has also established a certification for quiet areas in densely populated places. So, for example, if you experience silence in Taiwan, you are experiencing the quiet of the Taiwanese. Urban quietness and wilderness quiet are a bit different. A city can never be free of noise, so the opinions on the noise level of urban places are cultural. Hush City: The Sounds You Hear How we perceive noise and silence is not all about measuring noise. Not all sounds are polluted. Hush City, designed by Dr Antonella Radicchi (architect and urban planner in Berlin), is an app to record people's feelings about sounds surrounding them. This app is free and allows people to rate the sounds in their surroundings. Hush City is there to enable people to find and identify quiet places in their area and register them in the app. So, it is not a rating by decibel, but the perception of citizens. People's opinions and feelings about their favourite quiet place are taken into account. If you download the app, you can record the "soundscape" using the microphone on your telephone. If you like, you can add a picture and answer a few questions about the quality of your chosen quiet area. Once the information is filed, this data is shared with the users of the app worldwide. Up to now, councils in Berlin, Germany and Limerick, Ireland use Hush City to create Quiet Areas Plans. If we can identify the quiet place in a city, it would help us to maintain these quiet areas. And it would allow us to get a break of the daily noise pollution we are exposed to. Before you go! Recommended:  We Destroy Nature! Still, It Wants To Protect Us Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about noise pollution? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
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