Noise pollution is increasingly coming to the forefront of public attention, though it is still viewed as less hazardous than air and ecosystem pollution. The major causes of noise pollution are fast-paced industrialization, transportation systems, construction, poor urban planning and massive social events. Noise pollution has significant detrimental effects both on humans and on the wildlife. Thus, it can cause short-term or long-term disruption of natural balance, while also catalyzing human health issues such as sleeping and hearing disorders.
The environmental noise can be easily measured with commercially available sound level meters and dosimeters. However, the impact of noise pollution on people is much more difficult to quantify as in most cases it is highly subjective and typically described as disturbance or annoyance. At present, there is no agreed-upon method of evaluating the impact of noise on the emotional and physical health of humans. However, its is possible to quantify the impact of noise pollution by estimating the cost of treatment for cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, sleep disturbances, and hearing impairments that have been caused by noise pollution.
Also, the number of days the workers missed due to these health problematic and associated economic losses can be computed. The study of the European Commission (2010) has revealed that there is substantial evidence that relates noise pollution to adverse health effects, with the notable exception of mental health. Thus, a particular dose-response relationship has been found out between noise pollution and hypertension. Self-reported annoyance and disturbance associated with noise pollution can only be measured in economic losses caused by the workers’ distraction. The environmental impact of noise pollution can be measured by evaluating its long-term effects on ecosystems and resulting economic losses.
The transportation mode that is the most likely to contribute to noise pollution is aircraft. Airplanes produce both air and ground noise, but it is the latter that causes large inconveniences for people who live or work close to airports. Airports are often placed nearly densely populated areas, which results in thousands of people suffering physical and emotional health damages from noise pollution. The nature of airplane noise makes it more annoying for people than the noise of train and cars, even though they may be at the same level. It is needed to design efficient policies on noise control and abatement in order to reduce the costs of health care and productivity losses associated with noise pollution.
- European Commission (2010). The economic impact of noise pollution on human health. European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/