Letter of the Day | Stop terrorising us with noise
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Noise nuisance is a form of torture. Jamaica is an island with homes strung out along busy roads. At midnight, 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., truck and bus drivers frequently toot their horns for extended periods, even when few or no other vehicles are on the road at those hours.
I live in Stony Hill. It is 2 a.m. A lone heavy-duty truck driver is driving on the road, no other traffic in sight, but he finds it necessary to toot his horn once, twice, thrice. I am awakened and it takes hours to fall asleep again. This is a regular occurrence across Jamaica.
Rest and rejuvenation take place at nights. Are these drivers at this time of night tooting their horns to stay awake and at the same time indiscriminately disturbing the rest of thousands of persons who must go to work and school the following day?
Where are the signs for silent zones in Jamaica?
Hospital environments are noisy, residential areas are noisy, institutions are noisy.
Taxi drivers, during the daytime, use their horns to solicit passengers, creating unacceptable noise nuisance, and the list goes on.
A noisy environment is an unhealthy environment.
Many Jamaicans are unaware of the effect of noise pollution. Do we realise that hypertension can be the direct result of noise pollution which, in turn, can lead to heart disease and kidney disease?
Hearing loss can be directly caused by noise pollution, whether listening to loud music directly or from your headphones, or being exposed to loud drilling noises at work, heavy air, or land traffic.
Children are more sensitive to noise pollution and so should avoid regular use of music players at high volumes. This leads not only to hearing dysfunctions but it has psychological and physical effects.
Research has shown that milking cows subjected to loud noise, like that experienced close to airports, produce far less milk. Birds and other wildlife and marine life disappear from noisy environments.
Noise pollution affects the feeding habits of animals, their reproductive patterns and migration routes, and can even cause haemorrhage and death in some animals.
Noise pollution leads to sleep disturbance and affects study and work performance during the day and, therefore, also has an economic cost.
As Jamaicans, we must become sensitised to the ill effects of noise and make every effort to decrease the level or pay the price.
Tips for Avoiding Noise Pollution
- Wear earplugs whenever exposed to elevated noise levels.
- Make effort to decrease the noise level in your bedroom at nights.
- If possible, choose your residential area as far removed from heavy traffic as you can.
- Avoid prolonged use of earphones, especially at elevated sound levels.
- If possible, avoid jobs with regular exposure to elevated sound levels.
- Start a campaign to sensitise others about noise.
- Be vigilant and call your police when night noises disturb your rest.
Neighbours with many dogs must be aware of the disturbance created and that legal action can be taken.
Let us be considerate and advocate for a decrease in noise pollution across Jamaica.
PATRICIA DUNWELL (CD, JP)
Custos Rotulorum of St Andrew