What Can We Do About Noise Pollution?


Imagine how quiet our planet was just a little over a 100 years ago. Noise pollution is relatively new to our environment; a 20th century human creation exasperated with the transportation boom. I’ve developed a habit of sleeping with earplugs to drown out the constant drone of freeways, cars racing up and down streets, plus endless police and fire engine sirens, which are sad reminders of so many emergencies and people in need of urgent help. If one lives by an airport, the flight path noise can be brutal.  I find helicopters are the worst and can create a war zone atmosphere. 

No longer can we wake to peaceful birdsongs, instead we have the jarring sounds of an alarm clock, TV’s blaring the news and constant commercials, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, cell phones buzzing with different tones for; calls, texts, messages, etc. Everywhere in our homes appliances like dishwashers or clothes washers and dryers are regularly providing background noise, plus not to mention loud neighbors at all hours.

It is more than just annoying, study’s have shown noise pollution effects people’s nervous system, blood pressure, concentration, hearing, anxiety levels and many other harmful conditions. There are adverse effects for wildlife as well, such as their migration, mating habits, reducing their ability to locate and capture prey, plus unnecessary stress.

I long for the quietude found deep in the forest where the soothing sounds of a babbling creek or the wind rustling through leaves ease the mind and spirit. It is a 21st century dilemma; I and most everyone else don’t want to give up the convenience of cars, planes or home appliances, so we need to look for solutions. Electric vehicles are much quieter and a better alternative, although it’s a slow trend toward that direction, plus we need to make sure their energy sources are green renewables. We also need to consider setting sound limits for unknown new noise producing technology of this millennium.

As population increases and cities expand, the loss of quiet grows with a pressing need to seek new directions for controlling noise pollution that help support humans and the natural environment. We may never again have the world of a 100 years ago, although I believe we have the ability to create a quieter future for the health and wellbeing of ourselves and the next generations.