Noise pollution is swiftly becoming one of the defining issues of the current generation. With the United Nations and the World Health Organisation declaring noise pollution to be one of the most pressing environmental threats to human health (as we discussed in this recent blog), there come a number of questions. What can we civilians do to lower noise pollution? How do we balance noise with infrastructural growth? Who can properly regulate noise pollution constraints? Well, that last one has a simple answer, at least here in Australia: local governments. Local governments are the first line of defence against the serious damage that nuisance noise can do to our physical and mental health. They are the ones who employ boots-on-the-ground environmental protection officers, animal control officers, code enforcement officers, law enforcement, and industry regulators, all of whom are empowered to control nuisance noise at the source. So what are the broad strategies that local governments should be looking towards when considering noise pollution in their jurisdictions? Let’s break it down.
Conducting Noise Monitoring and Measurements
The first step to preventing noise? Knowing where it is, how loud it is, and when it’s occurring. By conducting thorough measurements using advanced remote monitoring systems like NoiseNet, local governments will be able to source and track real data that adds hefty weight to enforcement mandates. In addition, nuisance noise data is a key consideration for town planning efforts. With the border between residential, commercial, and industrial districts growing thinner across densely populated areas, town planners looking to create smart and liveable districts should be conducting noise monitoring as a first step in their designs.
Monitoring Noise Trends and Impacts Over Time
The next step in an effective noise pollution reduction plan is tracking. Once data collection setups are in place, analysing broader trends is a solid way to inform future development strategies. In particular, gathering data on the impact that noise sources are having on residents is key to understanding what steps need to be taken to improve quality of life. For example, a particular road may become distressingly loud during morning commutes – but if nearby residents aren’t asked about the impact and don’t have their data gathered effectively, regulators may not be able to enact any change that improves the residents’ quality of life.
Implementing Effective Noise Management Strategies
Once effective data has been collected and tracked, it’s important to do something with it. With the heavy impact that noise pollution can have on our health and the environment around us, collecting data means nothing until solutions are implemented. Ideally, the gathered data should inform solutions that would be implemented during the planning phase of any public works project – ie, noise pollution should be a consideration before a road or factory is built – but that often isn’t possible. Instead, public works that aim to resolve noise issues should come from leaders who are transparent about the interim disruptions to residents. Additionally, public health campaigns about the consequences of noise are much more effective when backed up with solid data, and should be crafted to highlight the most dramatic statistics in an effort to raise awareness.
While local governments are often stretched thin when it comes to code enforcement, building solid data with smart monitoring systems is a great way to build enforcement strategies while being efficient with manpower. Adding noise pollution into considerations made during town planning and code writing will invariably lead to a quieter, happier populace. And what local government doesn’t want that? If you’re looking to add noise monitoring and data collection to your government’s planning and development strategies, head over to https://www.noisenet.com/ and book a free demo today.