Noise is a health issue

There is a vast amount of information confirming that unwanted noise is an acoustic contaminant with profound implications for human health.

Andrew Holota’s recent column (The Leader, Aug. 18) about blueberry propane cannons was spot on, yet not nearly emphatic enough about the harm caused by noise.

There is a vast amount of information confirming that unwanted noise is an acoustic contaminant with profound implications for human health. The World Health Organization and other medical and environmental groups have found that unwanted noise is not just a nuisance or annoyance, but a serious threat to physical and mental well-being.

Unwanted sound at any level can interfere with sleep (and still affect you even when it doesn’t actually wake you); raise blood pressure; increase heart rate; increase the risk of heart disease; impair concentration, productivity and learning; increase stress; affect mental health; and overall reduce your quality of life. At its extreme, unwanted noise can result in violence and murder.

Anti-noise pollution groups exist all over the world, including here in Vancouver. The mainstream media is full of articles and reports (including a 2001 CBC Marketplace documentary) observing the relentless increase in noise pollution in our society and the harm it causes. Several books have been published, most recently Why Noise Matters, which argues that noise is the most neglected green issue of our age.

Given the compelling evidence that unwanted noise is harmful to human health, the question is how and why Surrey council can remain so abysmally ignorant of this fact.

Fourteen years ago, the City of Vancouver Urban Noise Task Force produced a comprehensive report with recommendations for improving Vancouver’s soundscape. This led to a series of materials on noise awareness and noise control called SoundSmart, which promotes individual responsibility towards noise and the need to avoid disturbing one’s neighbours and community.

It is only a matter of time until noise pollution, and its profound impairment of human health and quality of life, captures the serious attention it deserves in the wider public consciousness and on the political agenda.

And if Surrey truly aspires to live up to its self-hype as a socially and environmentally progressive city, Surrey council needs to pull its collective heads out of the sand and recognize – as have other more enlightened cities worldwide – that acoustic responsibility is a concept whose time not only has come, but is long overdue.

 

J. White

Surrey

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Surrey BIAs to get cash help from city hall

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum announced this on Monday

‘Loophole’ allows U.S.-Canadian citizens to continue to meet at Peace Arch Park

According to immigration lawyer Len Saunders, there’s nothing the province can do about it

Stayte Road housing project rejected by White Rock council in 4-3 vote

Councillors heed residents’ emphatic opposition voiced at electronic public hearing

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read