Causes of Noise Pollution


Sound is a necessity in our day-to-day lives, but not noise. Noise is broadly an undesirable sound or sound which generates horrible discomfort on the ears. In the contemporary society, noise has become a permanent aspect owing to the daily activities such as transportation, industrial manufacturing, and technology. In contrast to the other types of pollution, noise pollution lacks the element of accumulation in the environment. It merely occurs when sounds waves of intense pressure reach the human ears and may even affect the body muscles due to sound vibrations. Even though noise pollution does not cause death, it can create a lot of discomforts.

Below are the major causes of noise pollution:

  1. Industrial Causes

The high intensity of sound produced by machines in various industries, mills, and factories are the major causes of industrial noise pollution. Engineering companies, printing presses, textile mills, and metal works immensely generate noise pollution. The noise from the machine’s mechanical pneumatic drills, saws, and rotating belts produce intolerable sounds and are a nuisance to the public.

Residents in areas neighboring industries or manufacturing facilities report intense sound levels that can damage hearing ability. Industrial towns which are close to residential areas have habitually caused discomfort and nuisance to the residents. Within the industries, it is mandatory for workers to wear earplugs to shield them against the entry of loud noise.

  1. Agricultural Machinery

Agricultural machinery like thrashers, tube wells, power saw, tractors, power tillers, and harvesters have proved to produce high levels of noise when under operation. As part of agricultural mechanization to make work easier, they have equally qualified and noise generating sources. In the state of Punjab in India, noise levels in the ranges of 90 dB to 98 dB have been recorded owing to the operations of agricultural machinery. People who use the machines, for instance, tractors and harvesters have to put on noise proof gadgets.

  1. Household Utilities
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Household utilities are sources of noises and can cause disturbance to the peace of the mind. Common sources household noise pollutants include domestic gadgets such as pressure cookers, washing machines, mixer-grinders, desert coolers, air conditioners, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners.

Electrical devices like radios, transistors, TVs, musical instruments, telephones, and loudspeakers are also sources of noise pollution. Besides, household behaviors like the banging of doors, crying of infants, moving furniture, loud quarrels, house renovations, playing of children, and so on contribute to indoor noise pollution.

These gadgets and household behaviors can be very noisy thereby causing disturbance to everyone in the neighborhood. Statistically, household utilities are the principal sources of neighborhood noises.

  1. Transportation

Transportation causes of noise pollution predominantly encompass noise from traffic, rails, and aircraft. The numbers of automobiles on the roads are increasingly becoming overwhelming owing to automobile revolution in urban settings.

Scooters, motorcycles, cars, buses, and trucks have rapidly increased in number since the last century further exacerbating the problem of transport noise. Noise intensity in most residential places neighboring towns is always high because of widespread vehicular noise pollution. Increased traffic has brought about traffic jams and automobile congestion that produce noise via repeated hooting.

Airplanes, jets, and helicopters also constantly make big sounds over the houses adjacent to busy airports. In big cities like Mumbai, London, or Chicago noise from airplanes amounts to an ever escalating serious problem. High levels of noise pollution in metropolitan areas can deafen the elderly.

  1. Public Addresses and Alarm Systems
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In some countries with lax noise pollution policies, people have the least excuse for using loudspeakers. They are used for reasons including birth, marriage and death ceremonies, commercial advertising, and religious functions. During elections and demonstrations, public address systems are also commonly used. Accordingly, public address systems in their own way contribute to noise pollution.

On the other hand, alarm systems offer effective ways of keeping off intruders from residential houses or protecting against car theft. However, at times, they cause unwanted and unpleasant noise which disrupts the ability to concentrate on other activities.

  1. Social Events

Social events like worship places, parties, gigs and discos, and so on create a great deal of noise for the people residing in that area. For instance, worship events produce loud noises from the instruments used to amplify the voices and sounds from the pulpit. However, the loud sounds from these social events are mainly termed as ‘nuisance’ as opposed to noise pollution. Still, they hamper normal activates like conversation, sleeping, or upsets one’s quality of life.

  1. Defense Machinery

A good deal of noise pollution is added to the environment by military tanks, explosions, shooting practices, military airplane training, and rocket launching. High-pitched noises from sonic booms and jet engines have a deafening impact on the ears. Furthermore, these high-pitched noises have in some extreme cases shattered window panes and old dilapidated structures.

  1. Storms

Storms like hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes can be very devastating and can create immense noise pollution. The loud noises made by these storms can cause disruption in your daily activities and may put intense pressure on your ears. Similarly, lightning and thunderstorms create high-pitched noises that may affect your hearing ability.

  1. Other Sources
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Construction works, blasting, stone crushing, bulldozing, welding, automobile repair activities, quarrying and so on are miscellaneous causes of noise pollution. People involved in these activities at times have to wear earplugs to prevent them from deafening exposure. The residents of areas boarding where these activities take place normally complain of unpleasant and intense noise.

Photo by: Carol

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