Urban noise pollution harms people and wildlife

Photo credit: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz

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

New research from Colorado State University links urban noise pollution to the historical practice of racial discrimination. CSU researchers learned that neighborhoods that receive lower grades for investments in their homes are generally rated higher for noise pollution. The neighborhoods that receive lower grades are also more diverse and often house lower-income families.

Writer Chrissy Sexton goes on to discuss how high levels of noise are linked to hearing impairment, sleep disturbances, health issues and a diminished quality of life. She also notes the impact of noise on children and older adults. Furthermore, she highlights the adverse impacts of noise on animals, reminding us that communications amongst animals and their ability to mate can be intruded upon by excessive noise. 

While recognizing the dangers of noise to all of Earth’s species is important, it is imperative that this knowledge spurs action to reduce the noise. Sexton calls for the use of quieter technology in transportation and industry, and for stricter enforcement of noise control regulation.  While noise impedes health, parks and green space enhance well-being. It was nice to learn from this article that cities like Denver are working toward providing more parks and green space for people living in underserved communities.   

Sexton finishes the article by stating that public awareness and education about noise pollution and the impacts of noise will go a long way in resolving the issue. From my experience, I believe it will.

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