Air and water pollution receive a lot of attention, especially in big cities and in areas with abundant natural resources. However, there are types of pollution that don’t force people to breathe in harmful particles or worry about what might be in a home’s pipes.
Noise and light pollutions also have an impact on everyday life. What are some of the negative consequences of light and noise pollution, and what can businesses and governments do about it?
The Impact on Humans
1. Noise Pollution on Humans
Harmful noise can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life; one of the primary risks associated with noise pollution is impaired hearing, which can make communication more difficult and even pose a safety risk.
Sustained loud levels of noise can also cause sleep disturbances, cardiovascular disease, and increased stress. Here are a few ways that noise pollution can negatively affect your life and your business.
Lack of Sleep
If you’ve ever lived near a construction site, you know that loud noises can keep you up all night. Even just driving past them on the road causes enough of an annoyance, can you imagine living near one?
Living, working, or driving near particularly heavy traffic can also cause the same amount of annoyances and distractions as a construction site.
It’s been well documented that lack of sleep leads to a less healthy life. It’s also bad for business because it can affect an employee’s ability to be productive. A tired employee is more likely to make costly mistakes and can severely compromise efficiency.
Have you ever tried to take a phone call on a street with high traffic volume? Or tried to hear what someone is saying over noisy equipment or even television?
Loud noises do not facilitate clear communication. This can cause many problems in a workplace where communication is crucial to the efficient performance of employee tasks.
Also, persistent noise in the workplace can cause other problems such as headaches or inability to focus/concentrate.
Annoyances and distractions while at work or on the road can be just as damaging as noise disruptions to sleep.
You may not realize it, but constant jarring noises can cause stress, leading to high blood pressure, heart disease, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances and tinnitus.
These facts are found in a study performed by The World Health Organization.
The study also states that overall, western Europeans lose up to 1.6 million years of healthy living annually due to the excessive amount of noise pollution there.
2. Light Pollution on Humans
Many of the world’s big cities never go dark, but that isn’t a good thing. Excessive light, particularly during the night, can wreak havoc with people’s circadian rhythms, making it difficult or even impossible to get a full night of rest.
The Impact on the Environment
1. Noise Pollution on Environment
High levels of noise can negatively affect entire ecosystems. According to Live Science, “When looking at how noise changed the fate of seeds from one of the dominant trees in the ecosystem, piñon pines, the researchers found.
Seedlings at quiet sites were four times more abundant than at noisy ones. The team attributes this to differences in the animals picking up the seeds.”
Noise pollution impacts some animal species more than others. For example, it can make it more difficult for bats and owls to hunt their prey.
Elephants in Zimbabwe run away when they hear helicopters, a behavior that could eventually affect other animals as well. Noise even puts hermit crabs in danger; they are slow to hide from predators when boat sounds distract them.
2. Light Pollution on Environment
The effects of light pollution on the environment are better documented than its effect on humans. Researchers have found that too much light can confuse trees, making it difficult for them to adapt to changing seasons.
Artificial light impacts bird migration patterns and may hinder frogs from mating. Too much light can disorient sea turtles when they come on land to lay their eggs.
Which is Worse Noise or Light Pollution?
Both noise and light pollution have the potential to cause serious damage to humans and ecosystems. The above mentioned facts may lead to the conclusion that in areas with abundant natural spaces, light pollution is more dangerous.
However, in urban areas where excessive noise is common, noise pollution poses the bigger threat.
How to Fight Noise and Light Pollution
In order to fight noise pollution, governments or businesses may install noise absorption panels. These barriers swallow sound, reducing its impact on surrounding areas.
To reduce light pollution, homeowners can install lower-wattage bulbs and close the curtains at night. Businesses may choose to forgo glaring neon signs in favor of more subtle choices.
Local governments may want to reconsider which streets need extra lighting at night. Both noise pollution and light pollution are big problems without easy, all-encompassing solutions.
However, when individuals, businesses, and governments work together, it’s possible to battle the problems that come with living in a world that is too loud and too bright.
Avoid the negative effects noise pollution can have on your life and learning what our team at Sound Fighters can do for your business.