The importance of its control and management. The real case of Girona.
The increase in population and frenetic activity of our cities is causing a proportional increase in the noise generated by vehicle traffic, followed by industrial, business and night-life activity.
While it is true that the threshold of noise tolerance varies according to the situation, individual and culture, a survey conducted by the Environmental Agency of the CAM in France showed that people exposed to noise levels of more than 85 dBA suffered a 12% increase in cardiovascular problems, 37% in neurological problems and 10% in digestive problems, in contrast to people exposed to lower levels.
Noise can also affect individuals differently depending on its factors. Depending on the type, duration, place and even the moment when it is produced, it can annoy, irritate and cause convenience, even in some cases altering a person’s physical and psychological state.
Temporary, irreversible or progressive hearing loss is one of the physical effects described and related to noise pollution, as well as blood pressure and heart rate disorders, muscle tension and digestive disorders, among other problems.
Noise can also have psychological consequences for individuals, affecting the stress, mental concentration, learning and productivity of people.
Although the ultimate objective of any city is to improve the life quality of citizens, economic effects are also considered, particularly bearing in mind the budgetary constraints that all administrations are facing currently. Economic costs are clearly reflected in the prices of homes in areas that suffer noise pollution and also evident in the amount of sick leave days and resources allocated to public health resulting from the physical and psychological effects of noise pollution.
Noise monitoring in the city of Girona
Results and conclusions
Thanks to constant technological innovation, the necessary autonomous systems exist today for the continuous real-time monitoring of noise in cities. These systems enable the implementation of new, more efficient, economically viable management models, and therefore improve the quality of life of citizens, which is the priority of any urban action:
- Transparency with citizens, local awareness and respect.
- Reduce number of complaints and, therefore, the administrative work associated with it.
- Reduction in physical and psychological effects to boost citizen well-being and satisfaction.
- Reduce the economic effects caused by sick leave days and public health costs resulting from noise pollution.
“The cost of wireless sensors is less than other methods. In our case, the most interesting thing about the monitoring network is having data continuously, both day and night, rather than the accuracy itself. It has allowed us to highlight the importance of the noise vector and view levels continuously at night. The sensor network now allows us to control changes in noise (peak traffic times and activity in the city) and check what is happening regarding citizen complaints. The public viewer is a way of facilitating access to environmental information to Girona’s citizens and promoting transparency.”
NÚRIA MAYOL RAMON. Finance and Sustainability Area of the Girona City Council