Causes and Effects of Noise Pollution
Sound is the basic part of our environment. Our environment is filled with sounds of various natures. Be it the rustle of leaves, chirping of birds or the song of crickets. Nature is ever changing so are the sounds. The song of grasshopper during summer and the tune of crickets during winters luring one to sleep.
Think of an earth without sound?. It would be almost dead. Think about human conversation. If someone is standing beside you and talking to you but you can’t hear it? Frustrating right?
Maybe languages wouldn’t have developed it there was no sound. Hence sound forms a very important part of communication in daily life. Without sound animals or humans would have to communicate through signals.
What is sound?
It is the variations in air pressure that set vibration in our ear drum and which we perceive as sound in turn
What is noise? What is the difference between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’?
Loud uncontrolled production of sound which affects the peace of mind is known as noise.
Sound is anything that we hear. It doesn’t depend upon taste or liking.
Noise depends on liking. For example-
Loud rock music is a good music for teenagers, but it is a noise for other people who have tastes for different kinds of music. Hence noise is a very variable quantity.
But nowadays due to excessive number of vehicles and factories the amount of sound produced has reached to an extreme level. ‘Noise pollution’ is a common term to be heard these days.
What is ‘noise pollution’?
Noise pollution is the pollution created by unnecessary and extreme levels of noise produced with harms the aura of the environment and the mental peace of the beings residing in it.
What are the causes of noise pollution?
There are many causes of noise pollution. To state a few are:-
- Uncontrolled use of horns in vehicles
- Loud noise of machineries in factories
- Machinery sound in construction areas ex electrical drilling machine, tile cutting machine
- Loud human conversations
- Loud music in speakers used in functions, ceremonies etc
- Sound crackers in festivals
Harmful effects of Noise Pollution
Noise pollution poses several recognized risks which include:
- Impatience is a major side effect of Noise Pollution. Since noise affects the chemicals in the brain, it changes the thinking patterns and moulds our brain into wanting immediate gratification thus reducing our patience threshold.
- Partial and complete loss of hearing ability is one of the main ill effects of noise pollution. When the noise level that the ear receives increases, our threshold of hearing, which ideally should be 20 hertz, also increases, thereby reducing our ability to listen to sounds of lower intensity.
- Noise pollution also triggers a plethora of heart ailments including angina and heart attacks. Arrhythmia is also one of the major side effects of noise pollution which makes the heart beat irregularly that ultimately leads to left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) which causes hardening of the heart muscles thus reducing their contractile character which may lead to heart attack.
- Not only humans, animals are also severely traumatized by the ill effects of noise pollution. Several animals like dogs and birds have hearing abilities higher than that of human beings. They have a more sensitive ear and as a result are more easily susceptible to the harmful impacts of excess noise. Many of the migratory birds also get confused of the direction of flying because excessive noise messes up their brain chemicals that guide them.
- While driving, many a times, drivers get confused because of excessive background noise and make mistakes which might result in major accidents leading to loss of life and property.
Can it be controlled?
Yes, noise pollution can be controlled. But it needs to be done from individual level. Impatience has taken over the better of us nowadays. We can wait for the other car to pass and clear the road instead of sitting and honking out of impatience?. It will take a few seconds only.
We can restrain ourselves from honking near schools, hospitals. Bursting sound crackers in Diwali can also be stopped if we want it to.
Some ways to control noise pollution:-
- Listening to speakers at a low decibel level.
- Honking only when required.
- Obeying manners of general awareness like talking in low-medium pace near schools, hospitals or such other places of calm environment.
- Firecrackers are a major source of noise pollution in today’s world. With the invention of new compositions and techniques, the noise in firecrackers is specifically made high which surprisingly appeals to a fringe section of people. This has to be checked by public participation as well as by government legislation. The festival, Diwali that we celebrate is the festival of light and not of noise.
- Not playing loud music in party ceremonies till late night.
- Using noise checks in cars or other vehicles. Keeping engine in good condition so that it doesn’t make too much noise while running. Use of good quality engine oil is extremely important for keeping engine running noise under check. Heavy duty exhaust systems also help reducing the exhaust noise.
- Creating sound proof bays for the tunnels from where cars pass.
- Stricter laws need to be made as well as implemented.
- Police patrolling should be increased during the times of festivities. They should be equipped with mobile devices to check the background noises.
- Education and awareness about the ill effects of noise pollution is also an important part of prevention of noise.
We as a society cannot progress unless we civilize ourselves in all aspects of life. Noise is a very volatile issue today however, no one pays much attention to it. There are extremely efficient laws that have been made to check it but all in vain.
The primary function of those laws today is to rot in the pages of our esteemed Constitution. Unless self-conscious efforts are made from within ourselves, this issue cannot be solved. Just like anything else, it is the duty of the citizen to better them, and then only can any good come about for the country.