Environmental Noise Pollution and Effective Solutions
Going green isn’t only about implementing eco-friendly practices in every aspect of our society, but also about creating a healthy environment for its members. It’s about striking a balance and creating a nurturing atmosphere where both people and nature can flourish. This often entails tackling some overlooked and surprising issues, such as noise pollution. Although environmental noise emission may not have a direct effect on the environment, it’s increasingly being treated and classified as a pollutant. Since it can be detrimental to people’s health and well-being, it requires us to gain a deeper understanding of this issue and take appropriate measures to prevent it.
Environmental noise pollution defined
Environmental noise pollution typically refers to industrial noise that can affect both workers in a specific industry and community members. More specifically, it’s defined as unwanted and unbearable sound that can bring about a range of health and safety problems. Since noise emission is considered to be similar to other types of emission, regulators are implementing strict restrictions regarding environmental noise. There are different noise acceptability limits that are set as a way to prevent hearing damage of workers and disturbance to residents.
Aside from legal obligations, a great number of leading industries focus on promoting accountability and social responsibility in their operations. This typically entails implementing environmentally-friendly practices and contributing to the community well-being. Thus, they aim at controlling noise pollution from the very start rather than dealing with subsequent complaints.
Health implications of environmental noise pollution
Not only does prolonged exposure to industrial noise lead to hearing impairment of workers, but it also may cause a range of different health problems among both workers and residents. Namely, industrial noise can lead to increased stress and blood pressure, ongoing headaches, vertigo, extreme fatigue and stomach ulcers. Furthermore, noise pollution may also cause sleep disturbance, resulting in altered behaviour, irritability and reduced performance. Industrial noise pollution may also affect workers’ mental health, causing psychological stress, anxiety and withdrawal. Consequently, these problems can further worsen the health conditions of workers, causing some additional issues, such as speech problems, tremors and behavioural problems. This inevitably affects their ability to perform their tasks properly, which may further endanger their colleagues and the community.
It’s also important to mention that industrial noise pollution may also affect unborn babies in the community. Since the foetus is extremely sensitive to sounds, noise pollution may affect their early development and the growth of organs.
Effective noise control methods
Considering the fact that environmental noise pollution can have such a detrimental effect on industrial workers and community members, it’s essential that all the necessary measures and restrictions be implemented to mitigate this problem and eliminate the risks that it brings. Typically, the leading industry giants hire professionals who can implement highly effective environmental noise control solutions that can reduce noise emission levels and ensure the adherence to legal restrictions and guidelines. After a full acoustic assessment, these professionals develop appropriate noise reduction plans that target specific noise problems and their source.
Depending on different factors, there are several effective methods of noise control. These methods can be divided into three main approaches to noise management.
Engineering noise control
The engineering approach to noise control refers to implementing effective solutions throughout the entire process. For instance, this approach entails purchasing the quietest equipment on the market and regular maintenance that will minimise noise and vibration. This approach can also entail the use of soundproof barriers, panels and walls, which is one of the most flexible and affordable solutions.
When it comes to sound attenuation approach, it refers to modifying machines and tools or using certain products, such as silencers, to minimise noise pollution and ensure that equipment operates as quietly as possible. Since industrial equipment can cause noise emissions through heating and ventilation systems, different types of silencers are used to prevent this problem. They are installed on ventilation openings, reducing some of the acoustic energy. Blowers silencers, in particular, are the most commonly used ones in different industrial settings. This type of silencers reduces noise by moving the air around, preventing the transfer of sound. Furthermore, there are also exhaust silencers, an effective solution for limited space.
Administrative noise control
Administrative noise control doesn’t entail the use of protective equipment, but rather the restrictive access to noisy equipment. This approach ensures that only those employees who need to be around such equipment have access to this workspace. The administrative approach also entails ensuring that these employees spend limited time around this equipment and work as far away as possible.
Industrial noise pollution is a serious issue that brings numerous health and safety implications. Thus, it’s essential that appropriate measures be implemented as a way to reduce the risks of environmental noise pollution.