Noise pollution can be defined as unwanted or offensive sounds that unreasonably affect our daily activities. The term noise is very subjective. Sometimes when you are concentrating on your work then even a mild conversation or whisper sound may become a noise. On the other hand if you are in light mood in a party, then even many people talking does not seem to be noise.
The unit of sound measurement is decibel (dB). Decibel is the unit for measuring the relative loudness of sounds equal approximately to the smallest degree of difference of the loudness that human ears can normally detect. Some levels of sound and their sources.
Major Sources of Noise Pollution:
i. Road traffic:
Road traffic noise is one of the most widespread and growing environmental problems.
ii. Air and rail traffic:
In areas close to the airports and railway tracks, the sound of aeroplanes and trains are major sources of noise pollution.
iii. Neighbourhood and domestic noise:
Barking dogs, car horns, loud music, TVs, loudspeakers, construction and household noise are some of the major sources of noise pollution.
iv. Noise from industries:
At many places, industries are located in close proximity of the residential areas or within the residential areas. Sound of machines, etc. causes noise pollution.
Harmful Effects of Noise Pollution:
i. Noise can affect human health and well-being in a number of ways, including annoyance reaction, sleep disturbance, interference with communication, performance effects, effects on social behaviour and hearing loss.
ii. Noise can cause annoyance and frustration as a result of interference, interruption and distraction.
iii. People experiencing high noise levels have increased number of headaches, greater susceptibility to minor accidents, increased reliance on sedatives and sleeping pills, increased mental sickness.
iv. Exposure to noise is also associated with a range of possible physical effects including cold, changes in blood pressure, other cardiovascular changes, problems with the digestive system and general fatigue.
v. Prolonged exposure to noise levels at or above 80 dB can cause deafness because of damage to the organ of Corti in the internal ear.
How to Control Noise Pollution?
The noise pollution can be minimized in following ways:
i. Reduce the noise at its source in industries and automobiles, etc.
ii. Try not to put the TV on hi-fi speakers.
iii. When playing music, turn it down at a reasonable level. Better still use headphones if you want to play your music loud or late at night.
iv. Plant trees at roadsides, curtains on the doors and windows, glass panes at the windows etc. to interrupt the path of the noise. This will reduce the noise to some extent.
v. Do not unnecessarily blow horns. This disturbs others.
vi. If the source of noise is unavoidable cover your ears by hands or use ear plugs to avoid noise.