Photo credit: Lucas Pezeta

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Acoustic ecologists at Colorado State University published a study in which they found that there is greater urban noise in redlined or marginalized communities. This article on EurekaAlert lets readers know that noise pollution has serious adverse health impacts. Not providing loans or services for non-white communities subjects those people to poorer living conditions, increased noise pollution and potentially poorer health. The study’s co-author Sara Bombaci and her colleagues looked at urban noise distribution in 83 American cities. The team also looked at studies that examined the impacts of noise on urban wildlife in these communities.

Redlining neighborhoods was outlawed in 1968, but many years of not providing funding for infrastructure in the study areas brought about “enduring disparities.” These neighborhoods continued to be loud, and this loudness adversely affected the residents and animals. This article reminds us that noise can cause hearing loss, stress, insomnia and an increase in cardiovascular disorders. With respect to animals, noise intrudes on their movement, communication, mating and overall fitness.  

Bombaci informs us that many cities are now attempting to improve access to parks and green space in these redlined communities. She hopes that noise pollution will be included in these plans to improve the communities. Both the residents and the animals need quieter spaces.    

I found it interesting that the article described noise pollution as an “injustice” for both humans and other species.  

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