5 Solutions to Noise Pollution Discussed
Solutions to noise pollution are; acoustic barrier (fence, sound-wall, screen, window shutter) or enclosure construction, afforestation, automobile maintenance and electric vehicle adoption, volume adjustment for electric sound systems, and crowd control on highways, in neighborhoods and events.
It must be noted that these solutions are different from the measures for prevention of noise pollution, which are designed for complete avoidance of hazard, rather than remediation.
This article discusses the solutions to noise pollution, as follows;
1). Acoustic Barrier or Enclosure-Construction (as one of the Solutions to Noise Pollution)
One of the potential solutions to noise pollution is the construction of an obstructive structure referred to as a noise barrier, noise-reduction barrier, or sound wall; to limit the range of propagation of acoustic waves .
The barrier can reduce noise pollution by preventing sound waves from traveling a significant distance from the point of their release.
In areas where noise is a consistent problem, such as close to a major highway or event center, constructing/installing a wall or vertical barrier can be very effective to reduce the intensity of sound waves that spread to adjacent zones, from the point at which noise is generated.
Materials that are suitable to be used in constructing a noise barrier include concrete and wood, either of which can be selected based on specific circumstances. An absorbent material like rubber can be used to pad the surface of the barrier, as a means of reducing the rate of reflection (which can have a magnifying effect on sound waves in some cases).
Also depending on the nature and severity of noise involved, the barriers may be used singly or in uniformly-spaced multiples.
Asides barriers, enclosures can also be constructed with the aim of solving noise-related problems, or at least mitigating the effects of noise pollution.
The difference between a noise barrier and a noise enclosure is that the former comprises of a single vertical structure, while the latter comprises of multiple, connected vertical structures or barriers.
A noise barrier is used to obstruct and deflect or diminish sound wave-intensity; while a noise enclosure is used to contain sound waves within or outside of, a specified perimeter of space.
Both noise barriers and enclosures serve similar purpose, which is mechanical obstruction of high-intensity sound waves. Such concepts can be integrated into green building-designs in noise-prone areas; and fall within the context of sustainable architecture, like passive solar buildings and the use of green roofs and walls.
Afforestation is another example of potential solutions to noise pollution.
As the name implies, afforestation refers to the planting of forest vegetation (especially trees) in specified locations; and is relevant for the purpose of soil conservation, water conservation, erosion control, and mitigation of climate change, among others.
With regards to pollution, tree-planting has been found useful not only in cases involving noise, but also for other environmental issues like air pollution .
Plants help reduce noise pollution by acting as absorbent barriers that obstruct sound waves along their path of propagation, causing them to diminish in frequency and intensity. This is basically identical to what the sound wall does, which is mechanical obstruction of waves.
Trees are most useful among plants in the reduction of noise pollution because their larger mass and higher reach enable them intercept a broader range of oncoming sound waves. The bark and leaves of these trees act as absorbent surfaces that cushion the impact of collision with sound waves, so that much of the intensity of the waves is lost.
Irregular surfaces of stems also ensure that reflected sound waves are scattered and have very low acoustic effect relative to the initial wave-front.
The best trees (and shrubs) to be used as sound barriers are those which are evergreen, with significant width and height. This enables them to retain most of their spatial mass or reach, for most of the year, thereby remaining effective for noise control.
In urban areas, planting rows of trees can be an effective way to solve problems of noise pollution.
3). Automobile Maintenance and Electric Vehicle Adoption (as one of the Solutions to Noise Pollution)
Along with urbanization and industrialization, one of the causes of noise pollution which cannot be overlooked in modern society is automobile traffic.
What this implies is that the solutions to noise pollution in any anthropogenic context must infer to the importance of addressing traffic noise.
The sources of noise in automobile engines are mainly movable parts like pistons, and mechanical processes like pressure-exertion from expanding gases in the combustion chamber . These sources usually act simultaneously to produce the disturbing and persistent sounds made by working automobile engines.
It is possible to control noise pollution from automobiles through effective maintenance of engines to minimize friction and unnecessary mobility.
The intrusive/disruptive effect of automobile engine noises can also be addressed through active noise control (ANC) technology, which uses audio signals to diminish and cancel-out such noise.
None of the known methods for addressing automobile noise pollution is effective for complete removal of the disturbance. This limitation serves as a valid point in arguments against fossil fuel-dependent vehicles as a low-sustainability option in the transport sector. Such arguments are usually inclined in the favor of alternatives like hybrid and electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles reduce pollution by using electricity in place of combustive energy resources like gasoline. This results in much-fewer movable components, less friction and internal mechanical exertion, all of which lead to less noise.
The only operational noise made by the internal components of an electric vehicle usually comes from the electric motor as it spins using power from the battery.
It is believed in many technological spheres that electric vehicles have better overall performance and energy efficiency, than gasoline vehicles. The advantages of electric vehicles as an alternative to gasoline vehicles include; lower maintenance cost, and lower emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants like particulate matter, as well as less noise  .
4). Volume Adjustment for Electrical and Electronic Sound Systems
Noise pollution problems can result from improper and unregulated use of sound-amplifying devices like speakers.
To address such problems, the volume or sound-output of such systems can be reduced to less-hazardous levels. They may also be switched-off completely in cases where this is applicable (which could double as a measure for energy conservation).
Volume adjustment perhaps the easiest and simplest solutions to noise pollution from anthropogenic sources.
5). Crowd Control on Highways, in Neighborhoods and Events (as one of the Solutions to Noise Pollution)
One of the applicable solutions to noise pollution problems in neighborhoods, on highways and in events like parties and rallies, is crowd control.
Overpopulation is synonymous with noise pollution because the activities of individuals often produces sounds.
Crowd-control to address the noise problem does not mandate the reduction of population size, but may also be achieved by managing the spatial distribution of individuals using barriers and enclosures that are configured deliberately to obstruct, reflect, refract, diffract and absorb sound waves.
Such measures can be effective if they are backed up with data from spatiotemporal noise monitoring . The design of noise-proof environments can be integrated into urban planning projects as part of measures for sustainable development .
Solutions to Noise Pollution are;
1. Acoustic Barrier or Enclosure-Construction
3. Automobile Maintenance and Electric Vehicle Adoption
4. Volume Adjustment for Electric Sound Systems
5. Crowd Control on Highways, in Neighborhoods and Events
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