When noise is too much

Every single day, you take the public transportation – ride jeepneys and buses, catch the trains, take a cab or simply just walk along sidewalks and major streets in the Metro. I bet you hear the noise. You’d be deaf not to. But does it bother you?

You may be constantly subjected to noise pollution but you fail to notice and you seem not to care because you have gotten used to it. Noise pollution is a type of energy pollution that is created by displeasing noises from any source – human, animal or machine. These noises fill specific areas with sound, and cause many health and behavioral effects.

You may not know it but some of your health problems may be caused by the noise around you that you seem to be taking for granted. Findings of the study released by the World Health Organization in August 2007 suggest that thousands of people around the world may be dying prematurely or succumbing to disease due to the effects of chronic noise exposure.

Some of the effects of noise pollution include sleep distraction, hearing loss, stress that may lead to heart disease, aggression, hypertension and mental instability.

In some highly urbanized cities like New York and Paris, measures have been adopted regarding this problem. But since noise pollution is an intangible dilemma, unlike other societal problems like garbage, the enforcement is questionable. And since most people have gotten used to the disturbing noise they hear around them, they don’t do anything about it even if they can.

In the Philippines, the National Pollution Control Commission used to regulate noise. When the commission became non-operational, the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) took its functions. 

Section 5 of the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152) promulgated in 1977 states that with regard to community noise standards, “appropriate standards for community noise levels shall be established considering, among others, location, zoning and land use classification.”

One can file a pollution case before the DENR regarding annoying noise. However, this kind of conflict usually ends with negotiations among the parties involved instead of actually filing criminal charges and going to court.

So if you are subjected to unnecessary noise that keeps you awake all night, remember that you have a right to a peaceful environment. And if you choose not to let the proper authorities hear about your concern, you can still do something about it.

Choose to stay away from noisy and busy areas as much as possible. Wear earplugs when you’re out to lessen the effects of noise pollution to your well-being. You may have gotten used to the noise but it doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate it and not do something about it.

source: Manila Bulletin