Noise Pollution

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The term “noise pollution” generally refers to unwanted sound which is produced by human activities. Unlike other forms of pollution, it is fleeting in that it doesn’t remain in the environment. But it can become a pervasive presence and detract from the quality of our lives. Unpleasantness of one kind or another cannot be entirely avoided or eliminated, but constant exposure to things which push our tolerance will lead to negative effects on us. In its cumulative effects, noise pollution can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. For some, it can provoke headache or migraines, while to others, it can result in loss of sleep, which of course compromises general health.

Yes, we love fiestas and other festive events in our town, especially if it brings good income to small and large businesses, from take out food stands to a large scale restaurants and hotels in this nice and easy going city of ours. However, some residents in our neighborhoods may have low tolerance for noise or sounds in general. All I am simply saying that there needs to be some consideration to our residents who are trying to get a good night’s sleep but are bothered by the non-stop noise of all kinds, i.e. loud music, people’s loud voice talking or screaming, constant car horns, or worse, the sound of a bass instruments that tends to be a bit piercing to our eardrums. Of course, there are people may not be bothered such noise. But what about the rest of us who are trying to have a peaceful evening after a long day at work or better yet, how about those who are trying to put babies to sleep but are having difficulty due to the loud noise in our neighborhoods?

I understand that there are certain ordinances that pertain to all barangays when it comes to business places making noise – cut-off times after which businesses must turn down loud music, etc. But what about the numerous special occasions, the barangay fiestas or celebrations? Does anything go during such times? Should official events limit their noise levels as well, or perhaps limit the times during which loud music etc. is permitted? In New York City, a lot of neighborhoods have made it illegal to use your car horn except when absolutely necessary, with fines of up to $500. Loud noise (beyond a certain decibel level) in any one’s private home is also prohibited. Noise pollution ordinances in the US were implemented to coerce people into doing what in a perfect world they would do naturally, being respectful and considerate.

Here in the Philippines, we tend to love parties until the wee hour of the morning. I say go for it, but should we at least consider having them in appropriate venues, so that those who are noise sensitive can have a peaceful night’s sleep. For many, being bombarded by constant noise is simply a nuisance to our peace of mind, which in a way defeats the whole purpose of living here in a peaceful city like Dumaguete.

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