Noise pollution, unwanted or excessive sound that can have deleterious effects on human health, wildlife, and environmental quality. Noise pollution is commonly generated inside many industrial facilities and some other workplaces, but it also comes from the highway, railway, and aeroplane traffic and from outdoor construction activities. It is the propagation of noise with ranging impacts on the activity of human or animal life, most of them harmful to a degree.
Poor urban planning may give rise to noise disintegration or pollution, side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential areas.
While in Pakistan the maximum level of noise was recorded from Autorikshaw & Motorcycles (without silencers) and Minibuses. Several studies have demonstrated that traffic noise aggravation depends upon the type of road (whether main or side road), hours of the day (Peak hours etc), day of the week (Working day or a holiday), road width, road surface (Whether bumpy or smooth), high rise buildings along both sides of the road, types of shops along the road (with generators on the footpaths outside the shops), mechanical workshops, Iron and steel workshops.
Karachi is facing an enormous problem of exceedingly high levels of traffic noise, which is significantly higher than all the available international data. A vast number of people is at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss, Psychological, Cardiovascular or other systemic disorders in due course of time. Study confirms that traffic noise pollution in Karachi is rampant and exceedingly higher than all the international standards.
High noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans and an increased incidence of coronary artery disease. In animals, noise can increase the risk of death by altering predator or prey detection and avoidance, interfere with reproduction and navigation, and contribute to permanent hearing loss.
It is high time that the concerned authorities should wake-up to the hue and cry about traffic noise and its effects in Pakistan. Measures must be taken to create awareness in the people about the ill effects of noise and stringent rules made to control and mitigate the level of noise in every facet of life, including the traffic.
Submitted by Tuba Tariq, Date 31 January 2021.