Excessive noise harms the environment because it affects biodiversity by altering the natural behaviour of animals. It also lowers the quality of life and is negative to our health as it causes irritability and disrupts sleep patterns. Noise interferes with business activities as well as human leisure time.
To reduce noise pollution, local public administration bodies should start by carrying out a noise map that presents in detail noise levels in the different sectors throughout the urban area. Noise maps show the noise on an average day in an average year and are used to assess the exposure of a population to noise and to assist in identifying areas with good environmental noise quality.
Based on the noise mapping results, local authorities need to create noise action plans to reduce local noise levels and to maintain environmental noise quality in areas where it is good. Noise action plans create a blueprint for the management of environmental noise and its effects.
Some examples of effective measures to reduce noise in cities are (Kloth et al., n.d.):
- noise screens and tunnels
- low-noise road surfaces
- building insulation
- low-noise trams
- renewal of public transport fleet
- low-noise waste collection vehicles
- redesign of street space
- reducing traffic volume
- bans on trucks.
The municipality should also inform the public about the effects of noise pollution and the results of the mapping through an effective communication campaign. As in many other practices, communication and awareness contribute to the successful implementation of the plan and the achievement of the expected results.