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Noise Pollution as a Problem in Los Angeles

In the daytime, Los Angeles is a bustling city: cars are humming, construction works are underway, dogs are barking, and music concerts are held outdoors. As is usually the case in large cities, Los Angeles does not fall silent at night. In contrast, the silence at night in the village hurts the ear of a city dweller. From the written above, it becomes clear that the major problem in my neighborhood is noise pollution. There are several major causes of noise pollution, including industrial factories, construction works, the noise produced by animals, and traffic. In the case of Los Angeles, the primary cause of noise pollution is road traffic. There are two possible solutions to this problem: reduce the number of cars at the state level and minimize the personal use of cars, buses, and underground trains. Both solutions are good; however, the second one is more realistic because every large-scale change starts with the minor changes people implement. Therefore, preferring a bicycle to a car by one person is already contributing to reducing noise pollution.

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While our homes are a refuge from the crowded and noisy environments, these noises persist deep into the neighborhoods hindering peace. Besides, noise pollution has numerous adverse effects on human health. The most apparent negative impact of noise pollution is that it causes noise-induced hearing impairment (Jariwala et al. 2). Noise pollution also leads to annoyance, negative social behavior, sleep disturbances and increases the probability of mental illnesses and cardiovascular diseases development (Jariwala et al. 2, 3, 4). The experience of local people proves the scientific discoveries on the adverse effects of noise pollution. For instance, one woman in the neighborhood reported that every morning she wakes up to the annoying sound of a garbage truck, resulting in migraine. Even though none of the neighbors complained of the aforementioned hearing problem, there is no guarantee that they will not suffer from it in the future. From this, it could be inferred that noise pollution is a significant problem as it distorts the body adversely and affects people’s health. Hence, it is necessary to take this issue seriously and carefully study its causes and examine how it could be minimized.

As mentioned above, noise pollution causes mental health problems that increase nervousness and irritability. According to the study conducted by Petric, the reason for mental health issues lies in the fact that “loud noise exposure represents a detrimental stimulus for specific brain areas” (6). Clinical studies prove that these brain areas coordinate the memory and mood stability of people (Petric 6). Consequently, prolonged exposure to loud sounds on the brain leads to aggressiveness and irascibility. These scientific findings are reflected in the real-life experience of the neighbors. For instance, one local child got into a fight with someone on the street. Later, this child said that the reason for this misbehavior was the feeling of anxiety and anger provoked by the absence of sleep. Insomnia, in its turn, was caused by the sirens wailing in the streets at night. It is interesting to note that society commonly blames people for being excessively irritable, but people themselves cannot eliminate the cause of this mood.

Noise pollution is caused by numerous factors, including industrial activities, construction work, and animals. According to Gilani and Mohammad, road traffic is the major contributor to noise pollution (2). Urbanization has since realized extensive road networks, especially in large cities, that promote movement resulting in increased purchase and ownership of cars and motorcycles within one area. This vast reach of road traffic enhances its association with noise pollution. However, unlike other forms of noise pollution characterized by periodicity or intermittency, road traffic is largely continuous with several available pollutants, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and ambulances, among others (Wrótny and Janusz 8). Roads in today’s society are also rarely empty as people constantly move between places. This increased number of vehicles on the streets enhances traffic jams with loud, continuous, and annoying hooting from cars and motorcycles trying to evade the hole or people crossing.

Construction activities are another significant cause of environmental noise and are an increasing phenomenon in daily life due to the rapid developments and redevelopments in urban centers. The problem is aggravated by the complex construction tasks, including excavation, drilling, and falling of objects that are bound to produce loud and disturbing noise (Lee et al. 21). While most construction sites try to shield their activities, their proximity to settlements minimizes the shielding effects exacerbating noise pollution. On the bright side, unlike road traffic, construction activities will often produce noise characterized by suddenness and discontinuity (Zou et al. 2). This is because the construction machines will repeatedly need to be intermittently started and stopped, lifted, moved, and installed. Also, construction activities will usually last for about three to six months or less, depending on their complexity which is better than the noise generated by road traffic that lasts all all-year-round.

Further, social events, particularly nightclubs, also significantly generate loud and annoying noise. Although, at the same time, these social events are avenues for people to enjoy themselves, the noise generated from these areas are often unwelcomed by neighboring communities (Chung et al. 2484). Nightclubs, for instance, will often operate throughout the night, disturbing peaceful rest, especially after a tiresome day. Most of these nightclubs open for approximately 8-10 hours, starting at around 5 pm to 3 am (Chung et al. 2484). However, most of these facilities will often begin playing earsplitting music from around 10 pm. Social events such as weddings, worship centers, and house parties normally flout environmental noise pollution rules realizing a nuisance in neighborhoods. At the same time, these social events will often occur once a week as most people prefer to hold them during the weekends allowing for peaceful and quiet neighborhoods during the weekdays.

Animal noise is another significant noise pollutant that is often overlooked. In this context, the major source of pollution is dog bark (Jégh-Czinege et al. 210). By the way, science still does not know why some people react stronger to dog barks than others (Jégh-Czinege et al. 210). Concerning the case of my neighborhood, one of my colleagues reports that the loud barking and howling of the neighbor’s dog from midnight until 3:30 in the morning disrupted sleep. This, in turn, was why he was constantly late for work. In addition, dogs often make annoying noises when stimulated by other animals or with police sirens. The current example proves how strongly noise produced by animals could affect people’s social life and health. The absence of such a pollutant will most likely eliminate this noise pollution.

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To remind you, the four major causes of noise pollution in my neighborhood include road traffic, construction activities, social events, and animal noise. The most common cause of road traffic and it is immensely challenging to mitigate this problem (Gilani and Mohammad 1). The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that most people are not aware of this problem (Gilani and Mohammad 1). Moreover, road traffic is a steady problem, especially with the 24-hour economy in Los Angeles, California. The number of people suffering from physical and mental illnesses caused by noise pollution is increasing daily. However, every community member is capable of contributing to the reduction of noise pollution rates. Below, the essay discusses the way of tackling the problem of noise pollution in Los Angeles.

It is a misconception that the state government is not aware of the existence of the mentioned problem. The official website of the legislative body of the Californian government contains a section dedicated to noise pollution control (California Legislative Information). For instance, the state government confirms that high noise rates destroy the physiological and psychological well-being of people (California Legislative Information). Nonetheless, even though, on the legal level, there are some acts that should protect people from excessive noise, in reality, people keep on suffering from sirens, dog barking, and construction sounds. Furthermore, the government suggests no precise plan of action that would lead to the reduction of noise. For this reason, the responsibility for eliminating noise pollution passes to ordinary citizens. Although people have much fewer leverages to affect the situation drastically, some action is better than inaction.

Since vehicles are the primary source of noise pollution, it is necessary to undertake some actions to reduce the density of road transportation. Jacyna et al. list several instruments that could help to mitigate the problem (5640). These suggested solutions include the introduction of road tariffs, noise emission standards, low-speed zones, and passive noise control (Jacyna et al. 5640). Without a doubt, these solutions could drastically improve the situation once implemented. Nevertheless, the major hindrance is that introducing these policies requires the active involvement of state and federal governments.

Additionally, complicated bureaucratic processes and red tape make introducing these solutions immensely complex. Still, every person is capable of substituting personal and public vehicles with bikes or walking because the former means of travel are significantly quieter. This way, it is possible to contribute to eliminating noise rates without the active involvement of the government.

Since animals, especially pet dogs, contribute to the problem of excessive noise, it is necessary to develop ways to reduce this source of noise. It could be suggested to muzzle dogs at night or insulate their kennels. At the same time, the truth is that dogs barking is a drop in the ocean of noise. Apart from dogs, a lot of noise is produced by talking, television, computers, lawnmowers, and machinery (Anees et al. 8). Besides, not every family has a dog and not every dog bark and howl at night. In other words, noise pollutants are everywhere, and the only thing a person can do is think about how to minimize the negative impact of noise on personal health (Ramakers et al. 551). Indeed, it is much easier to install soundproof windows or use earplugs than make all dogs in the neighborhood quiet at night. Even though installing noise insulation is costly, the health is priceless, and it is even more expensive to cure the effects of insomnia or migraine.

To conclude, noise pollution is a topical problem that requires immediate action. The analysis of scholarly articles reveals that one way to reduce noise rates is to introduce tariffs and rules limiting the amount of noise produced by vehicles. Nonetheless, the full-fledged implementation of such projects might take years. Other scholars suggest installing soundproof windows and using earplugs. Undoubtedly, this will help eliminate the negative influence of noise; but this measure does not affect noise sources per se. Finally, the most appropriate solution is to raise people’s awareness of this problem and encourage them to walk and bike instead of riding a car or a bus. This will not bring many noticeable changes in the short-term perspective. Nevertheless, the long-term consequences of the abandonment of vehicles will be positive not only in terms of noise reduction but also in terms of carbon emissions decrease.

Works Cited

Anees, Malik Muhammad et al. “Physiological and Physical Impact of Noise Pollution on Environment.” Earth Science Pakistan, vol. 1, no. 1, 2017, pp. 8-10.

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California Legislative Information. “Health and Safety Code – HSC.” Web.

Chung, Andy, et al. “Impact and Control Practices of Bar and Pub Sound in Densely Populated Cities.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 142, no. 4, 2017, pp. 2484-2484.

Gilani, Towseef Ahmed, and Mohammad Shafi Mir. “A Study on the Assessment of Traffic Noise Induced Annoyance and Awareness Levels About the Potential Health Effects Among Residents Living Around a Noise-Sensitive Area.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, vol. 28, 2021, pp. 63045–63064.

Jacyna, Marianna, et al. “Noise and environmental pollution from transport: decisive problems in developing ecologically efficient transport systems.” Journal of Vibroengineering vol. 19, no. 7, 2017, pp. 5639-5655.

Jariwala, Hiral J., et al. “Noise Pollution & Human Health: A Review.” Indoor Built Environment, 2017, pp. 1-4.

Jégh-Czinege, Nikolett et al. “A Bark of Its Own Kind–The Acoustics of ‘Annoying’ Dog Barks Suggests a Specific Attention-Evoking Effect for Humans.” Bioacoustics, vol. 29, no. 2, 2020, pp. 210-225.

Lee, Heow Pueh et al. “Assessment of Noise from Equipment and Processes at Construction Sites.” Building Acoustics, vol. 24, no. 1, 2017, pp.21-34.

Petric, Domina. “Detrimental Health Effects of Noise Pollution.” Academia, 2020, pp. 1-6.

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Ramakers, Geerte et al. “Effectiveness of Earplugs in Preventing Recreational Noise–Induced Hearing Loss: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, vol. 142, no. 6, 2016, pp. 551-558.

Wrótny, Marcin, and Janusz Bohatkiewicz. “Traffic Noise and Inhabitant Health—A Comparison of Road and Rail Noise.” Sustainability, vol. 13, no. 13, 2021, pp.1-13.

Zou, Chao, et al. “Evaluation of Building Construction-Induced Noise and Vibration Impact on Residents.” Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 4, 2020, pp.1-17.

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