Photo credit: Myburgh Roux
by Elaine Miller, Founder, Plane Sense 4 Long Island, Member, Quiet American Skies
Thousands and thousands of planes fly over communities that have the great misfortune of living under horrendous NextGen flight paths. The “superhighways in the sky” were designed to increase capacity at airports, save fuel and save time by flying planes closer together — thus creating a more efficient system. However, the unrelenting parade of planes created noise ghettos and blanketed the air with dangerous pollutants as jet engines rain down ultrafine particulate matter. The Federal Aviation Administration insists that this toxic environment of noise and air pollution has “no significant impacts” on our communities as people struggle with sleep deprivation, high anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and a host of other illnesses. When presented with evidence-based research, the FAA continues to dismiss the efficacy of the results and leaves our communities in harms way.
We must get the message out that noise is not just an annoyance, but it is a serious health hazard. The FAA pinpoints the word annoyance, which minimizes the reality of what people are suffering with and the high levels of pollution they are exposed to. Impacted communities should no longer be kept in the dark but rather have a light shone on these issues to notify them of the looming hazards of their environments. New York Assemblyman Brian Curran, who represents District 21 in Nassau County, turns on the light switch in his recent op-ed titled, “Serious Pollution in the Airspace Above is Being Ignored.”
In the op-ed, which was published in the Long Island Herald, Curran said, “today, everyone is conscious of pollution and its detrimental effects on our environment and health. But the pollution that has made the quality of life in my 21st Assembly District unacceptable is airplane noise.” Curran realizes that the constant barrage of noise and air emissions is bringing tremendous health consequences to local communities due to the exposure of aviation-generated pollution. Curran concludes by stating that “the current level of airplane noise over our local communities should not be tolerated. It is a significant contributor to a lower standard of living, and is endangering residents’ health.”
It is time to turn on the light switch and protect our communities that are in harms way.