Car Noise Pollution 1

- NOISE POLLUTION -

 "87% of America’s city dwellers are exposed to noise so loud it has the potential to degrade hearing capacity over time." Les Bloomberg, director of Noise Pollution Clearinghouse in Montpelier Vermont (1).

Traffic noise pervades our cities. It is always there and in places it can be so bad you cannot hear what someone is saying. The automobile has made the world a noisy place, so much so that for many people it is hard to imagine how a city could be peaceful. The constant noise of traffic reverberating through our streets can be stressful and depressing. In comparison to the automobile city, the few pedestrian cities that remain are remarkably peaceful.

Within the urban environment the automobile is responsible for an impressive 80% of noise pollution; in central urban areas it is pretty much responsible for all of it (2). At times it is so bad that it even threatens the structure of historic buildings and can cause permanent hearing damage.  Actually, if our cities were legally classed as a working environment, you would often be obliged by law to wear hearing protection.

Noise pollution can cause real stress in people’s lives.  This stress can express itself in psychological or mental health problems.  It can even cause weakened heart and immune systems. Although this is not generally realised, thousands die each year from the stress caused by automobile noise. Every year in Europe alone, automobile noise will kill about two hundred thousand people (3).