A quiet place

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

Pollution comes in many forms. There is air pollution where the air is contaminated with chemicals particularly the exhaust emissions from vehicles and equipment that run on fossil fuels. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur, and other hazardous chemicals are the byproducts of burning gasoline, diesel as well as coal used by factories that generate electricity. There is water pollution where factory waste products are dumped into rivers, canals, creeks, or even the sea. All you have to do is take a whiff and you can tell the water is polluted.

And then there is noise pollution. In simple words, noise pollution is “any unwanted or disturbing sound that affects the health and well-being of humans and other organisms.” Not all noise is noise pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), any noise that exceeds 65 decibels is noise pollution. For comparison, normal human conversation is around 65 decibels. So, if you know someone who talks loudly, it could be noise pollution. A shout into the ear is around 110 decibels. The pain threshold is 120 decibels. Thunder close to one’s location is an example.

Every local government has an ordinance against noise pollution. The problem is that it is not enforced by anyone. A lawyer told me that after 10 p.m. in Quezon City, street karaoke should be prohibited. Many people are already sleeping at that time, especially students, so this is not allowed. But I remember my brother who complained to the police several times because of the noise from the neighboring building where there was loud music, talking, and even playing basketball in the early hours of the morning. The police would pass by, and the noise would stop temporarily. An hour later, the noise resumed. The ordinance is useless.

Now, there is even more intense noise that occurs almost all the time. Loud motorcycle exhaust. There are many motorcycles with loud exhaust systems. Some sound as if there is no exhaust at all. Some riders even purposely rev their motorcycles to get attention. The noise is ear-splitting. Those with loud motorcycles should be arrested on sight. These are the many types of pollution that we all have to endure. There are laws or ordinances regarding excessive noise that include karaoke singing past 10 p.m., and exhaust noise from cars and motorcycles. I hope the authorities start enforcing them at all times. Is it wrong to ask for peace and quiet, especially at night?

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