Deafening truth of noise pollution
ONE OF THE MOST MODERN CONVENIENCES, amplified noise, has become a nuisance that causes extreme harm to those unfortunate enough to suffer at the hands of the inveterate noisemakers who seem to pervade almost every aspect of our ear space.
Noise has a necessary place in human existence. Speech is a form of noise, but it is normally used for the conveyance of information from one person to another. Sometimes the amplification of speech and sound becomes necessary if there is great distance between the speaker and the hearer.
Yet even when the information is being conveyed to hearers within an enclosed space, some inconsiderate operators find it necessary to amplify the sound so that it can be heard clearly but obviously not enjoyed by anyone unfortunate enough to be within 50 yards of the ear-splitting shot of the sound.
It seems that noise pollution has gotten worse. Time was when church services could be conducted with fervour and passion and when the multitudes gathered together to worship would sing lustily sweeping along with them those sinners who were occupying the immediate environs outside the church building.
Alas, where the dance hall has gone in terms of noise pollution, some churches may have followed by amplifying sound to such an extent that what should be uplifting message designed to feed the souls of those within earshot, now becomes the very instrument which impairs their health.
The facts are that noise pollution is a serious health hazard. Noise pollution affects both health and behaviour. The damage can be psychological. Scientific data suggests that aggression, hypertension, higher than normal stress levels, sleep disturbance and increased incidence of coronary disease may be among the most widely known of the side effects of noise pollution.
At one time Mr Carl Moore and some public spirited Barbadians formed a Society for a Quieter Barbados. Such an organization was needed then to bring to public attention how much the issue of excessive noise what had already become a public nuisance.
Developments since the formation of this society have shown that the efforts of that small but persistent organization must not fall on stony ground. The peace and quiet, such as it is, of our more recent days and nights is now being further rudely broken by many a young man who thinks it important for his self-esteem to do wheelies weaving in and out of traffic accompanied by the ear splitting sound which emits from his specially adapted motorcycle as he dices with sudden death and condemns his unwilling audience of pedestrians and “sitting-duck” motorists alike to accelerated onset of non-communicable disease of a cardiovascular or other nature.
There is a clear need for speedy enactment of noise pollution legislation. We have benefited in great measure as a country from the application of modern invention, and we have used them usefully.
But we cannot allow the modern motor vehicle to be used as an instrument for torture by noise on our streets any more than we can allow modern amplification equipment to be used to inflict violence to our psychological and physical well-being through the exaggerated bombardment of our eardrums, whether from the dance hall or any other kind of hall.
It is true that we cannot easily stop our ears from hearing, but excessive noise can. And that is a scientific and medical truth!