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Asia Noise News Building Accoustics

Exploring Jakartan Public Transportation Through The Sound

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is home to 10 millions of Indonesia population. Recently the Indonesian government is being sued by a group of activists and environmentalists due to the unhealthy air quality in Jakarta. The plaintiff hopes that through the lawsuit, the Indonesian government can improve existing policies to address the air pollution issues.

On 18 Jul, according to the Switzerland-based pollution mapping service AirVisual, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Jakarta is 153, categorized as unhealthy and may cause increased aggravation of the heart and lungs. The recommendation upon this condition is to wear a pollution mask and use air purifiers inside the room. The AQI Measures five criteria air pollutants (particulate matter, sulphur, dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone), and converts the measured pollutant concentration in a community’s air to a number on a scale of 0 to 500.

Air Quality Index – AirVisual

Jakarta is one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world. The uncontrolled increase in urban population is proportional to the number of the vehicle in Jakarta. According to Badan Pusat Statistik (Statistics Indonesia), the growth of motorized vehicle in Jakarta is 5,35% every year, on the other hand, this growth will increase the number of pollution in Jakarta. This statement is supported by the acting head of Jakarta Environment Agency, Andono Warih, the fuel residue of motorized vehicles was the main contributor to severe air pollution as 80 per cent of vehicles powered by diesel fuel operated from Jakarta Greater Area (Jabodetabek) to the capital.

Jakartan can contribute directly to overcome air pollution issues. Public transportation is an environmentally friendly mode of getting around. Because public transportation carries many passengers on a single-vehicle, thus it can reduce the number of vehicles as well as reducing the number of emissions from transportation in a dense urban area. Further, public transportation can help Jakarta to reduce the smog, to meet air quality standards and to decrease the health risk of unhealthy air quality. 

The urban transportation system in Indonesia consists of buses, trams, light rail, metro, rapid transit and ferries. Particularly in Jakarta, urban rail-based transportation, such as Commuter Line Train, Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), provides mobility and access to the urban area.

MRT Jakarta Phase 1 – MRT Jakarta

The first phase of MRT Jakarta (MRT-J) has been operating since March 2019. In daily operation, the train runs from Lebak Bulus Grab Station to the Bundaran HI Station. There are 13 stations along the railway; the underground stations are Bundaran HI, Dukuh Atas BNI, Setiabudi Astra, Bendungan Hilir, Istora Mandiri, and Senayan Station. Meanwhile, the overground stations are ASEAN, Blok M, Blok A, Haji Nawi, Cipete Raya, Fatmawati, and Lebak Bulus Grab Station. The MRT-J only needs 30 minutes to travel along the 16 kilometres railway, starting from Lebak Bulus Grab Station in South Jakarta to the Bundaran HI Station in Central Jakarta.

There are 16 train lines available to take the passengers getting around. Based on the MRT-J website, In weekdays operation, the trains operate at 05.00 WIB to 24.00 WIB with a total of 285 trips. Meanwhile, in weekend operation, the trains run at the same hour with a total of 219 trips.

During the promo operation (1 April – 12 May), the average number of daily passengers reached 82,643, whereas after the full tariff was applied, the average per day was 81,459.

The following pictures will show you the scenes of MRT Jakarta.

So what do you think? Have you tried getting around using MRT Jakarta? If you have never, try immediately and feel the different sensation of Public Transportation in Indonesia.

Further, through this article, I would like to invite you, explore the MRT Jakarta through a different perspective, that may be for a group of people this method is still rarely used, a sound.

Do you realize that sound can tell us about character, place, and time? Sometimes, it informs us in ways visuals can’t, and that is the idea of what we are going to do right now. Later you will hear, a file of recorded sound of MRT-J in its daily operation.

The sound was recorded by the soundwalk method, any excursion whose primary purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are. We may be at home, walking across a downtown street, or even at the office. Meanwhile, in this case, our environment is inside the line of MRT Jakarta. The goal is to capture any sound sources that exist during the operation of MRT-J, including the activity of the passengers.

The sound was recorded by using a mounted microphone on the iPhone X at a level of 1.2 m above the ground. The following sound is a recorded environment while the MRT-J was travelling from Bundaran HI Station to Setiabudi Astra Station, the duration of recording sound is 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Please use an earphone or any similar devices to listen to the audio for a better experience.

Caution: please set the volume around 50 – 70 % of the maximum volume.

After listening to the sound, can you identify what sound sources are presented in the recording? Here are the sound sources that I have identified:

  1. Engine sound increases speed
  2. Public Address system
  3. Engine sound
  4. Rail friction
  5. Passengers’ activities (cough, sneeze, conversation, footsteps, etc.)
  6. The sound of the door opening
  7. Brake squeak

Now we have identified the sound sources that are presented in the recording. But, do you know how many decibels that I have to endure while travelling using the MRT-J? In this article, manual measurements of noise levels were performed with a sound level meter in the MRT Jakarta with passengers on its usual route. A-weighted sound level measurements were recorded directly from one station to the next during the time between 08:00 and 09:00, using a calibrated microphone on a stand at a level of 1.2 m above the ground. The results of equivalent continuous A-weighted noise levels Leq (LAEq) in the MRT-J with passengers on its usual route from one station to the next is shown in Chart 1. 

Leq is the A-weighted energy means of the noise level averaged over the measurement period. The results from the measurements show that the A-weighted noise level is varied between 77 dB to 82 dB. Further, if we look closely into the Chart, the noise level is fluctuating. It can be caused by a lot of factors, such as: 

  1. The position of MRTJ (When MRT-J inside the tunnel, the noise can be levelled up due to the reflection phenomenon).
  2. Speed (The machine indicates producing a higher noise when in the maximum speed).
  3. Path Crossing.
  4. The Public Address System Volume.

Moreover, the level of continuous noise in Chart 1 represents a quite noisy environment. According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, states that Long or repeated exposure to sound at or above 85 dB can cause hearing loss. Thus, according to the measurement results, I suggested you wear ear protection during commuting by MRT-J. The earplug is one of the equipment that we can use to protect our hearing; you only need to spend a few thousand rupiahs for this. Wearing earplugs can help you to reduce the noise by 18 – 34 dB, it depends on the models/brand. For more accurate results, we need to do a complex measurement, such as:

  1. Add measurement point (In this article, the measurement was done only in a measurement point, at the second car of the line).
  2. Add a velocity as a measured parameter.
  3. Add the measurement time; the measurement can be done during the operation hour, non-stop. (05:00 – 24:00 WIB).

Nonetheless, the idea of showing the measurement results is spreading noise awareness. Noise sticks with you around, even common sounds you hear at work or home can contribute to long term hearing loss and other health risks, they are everywhere, but only a few people are aware of it. Noise pollution is a health threat nobody is talking about. Here are some parameters to help you determine acceptable — and dangerous — noise levels:

  • 45 dB: nightly noise ordinance threshold set by many municipalities concerned with industrial noise exposure for residents
  • 65 db+: exposure for prolonged periods can cause physical and mental fatigue
  • 85 dB+: can cause permanent hearing loss if exposed for extended periods
  • 85-120 dB: dangerous over 30 minutes of exposure
  • 120-130 dB: can cause permanent hearing loss for exposure over 30 seconds
  • 130 dB+: not only are these noises painful, but hearing protection should always be used if avoidance is not possible.

Everyone needs to take care of their ears and hearing, as damage to the auditory system could be irreparable. The loss because of the noise exposure is gradual; you might not notice the signs, or you ignore them until they become more apparent. Please do protect your ears. 

Reference:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/02/jakarta-residents-to-sue-government-over-severe-air-pollution

http://support.airvisual.com/knowledgebase/articles/1185775-what-is-aqi

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2018.10.017

https://jakarta.bps.go.id/publication/2018/10/03/cb1285d8dbe8be8754a5830d/statistik-transportasi-dki-jakarta-2018.html

https://en.tempo.co/read/1214627/jakarta-air-pollution-mostly-caused-by-motorized-vehicles-agency

https://nowjakarta.co.id/city-guide/explore-jakarta/city-guide-by-now-jakarta-s-transportation-guide

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/asean-business/indonesia-accelerating-urban-transportation-development-with-public-private

Westerkamp, Hildegard (1974). “Soundwalking”. Sound Heritage

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308171/

Categories
Asia Noise News

Living with noise pollution: Serangoon, Bukit Timah and Clementi among the noisiest neighbourhoods in Singapore

Living with noise pollution: Serangoon, Bukit Timah and Clementi among the noisiest neighbourhoods in Singapore

For the past three decades, Mr K.C. Tang, 72, and his wife have been communicating by shouting at each other.

Even then, the couple can barely make out what each other is saying, due to the unceasing cacophony of horns, sirens and revving engines from the Central Expressway (CTE) around 40m away from their three-room flat at Block 115, Potong Pasir Avenue 1.

Said Mr Tang, a retiree, with a sigh: “We have grown used to this.”

Over in Yew Tee and Choa Chu Kang, where MRT tracks are within spitting distance from some Housing Board blocks, residents say that they, too, have become accustomed to living with noise.

Choa Chu Kang resident Nadia Begum, 29, whose home is some 30m away from a stretch of MRT track where a train rattles past every few minutes, said: “Closing all the windows is not sufficient. We have to use pillows over our heads to muffle the noises at night.”

Mr Tang and Ms Begum are among the tens of thousands living next to busy roads, MRT tracks, construction sites and shopping malls around Singapore, who are coping with din just outside their homes.

A new study from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that Singapore’s average outdoor sound level throughout the day is 69.4 decibels, which is equivalent to the noise made by a vacuum cleaner.

This exceeds the National Environmental Agency’s recommendation of no more than 67 decibels averaged over an hour, and is a whisker shy of the World Health Organisation threshold of 70 decibels a day. Consistent exposure to that level can cause hearing impairment.

The study – led by NUS graduate student Diong Huey Ting and Professor William Hal Martin, who heads the university’s masters in audiology programme – took 18,768 outdoor sound measurements between last December and February to determine how noisy Singapore is. Worryingly, around 27 per cent of the gathered data exceeded 70 decibels, said Ms Diong.

The study also identified the noisiest places in Singapore. Serangoon tops the list of planning zones, with an average of 73.1 decibels from more than 100 noise readings.

Said Ms Diong, 27: “In densely populated Singapore, common amenities like shopping malls, hawker centres and playgrounds all contribute to community noise, on top of that created by traffic.”

Noise pollution is inevitable in big bustling cities around the world and Singapore is experiencing it too.

While there are no comparative studies, anecdotally, the city has become noisier over the years as it continues to develop – with more expressways, longer MRT lines and the cycle of construction and demolition playing out over and over again.

This is on top of new trends like the growing popularity of integrated mixed-use developments, with retail spaces, offices, transport hubs and homes in the same complex.

This worries Mr Spencer Tan, 30, of noise monitoring firm Dropnoise. “Even those who live on the higher floors will not be spared since sound travels upwards.”

To try to mitigate against noise pollution, the Government has put in place several measures, including tighter enforcement of construction sites and urban planning regulations. Several solutions are still undergoing trials and may be rolled out in the coming years.

But some are concerned that these measures may not be able to keep pace with a growing nation.

Mr Tang’s home became noisier when the CTE was widened from a three-lane to a four-lane dual carriageway in 2012 to accommodate more traffic. Said Mr Tang in Mandarin: “We complained then, but nothing much can be done about it since it is impossible to fight progress.”

Dropnoise, which produces noise reports for residents and condominium managements, has seen business boom since it started the monitoring service last year.

Mr Tan gets more than three inquiries from frustrated residents to attend to every week. Its reports can be used in court action against noisy neighbours, or submitted to regulatory bodies as proof of noise pollution.

Within Mr Tang’s home, for example, Dropnoise, using a sensitive sound meter, recorded an average of 66.6 decibels over a five- minute period.

“This means that the resident is hearing a constant background noise equivalent to a loud conversation. He will have to speak louder if he wants to be heard,” said Mr Tan.

Since the problem of noise pollution is here to stay, doctors said residents should be more aware of ways to protect their hearing. These include the use of hearing protection, such as ear plugs and ear muffs, as a temporary solution, said the head of Singapore General Hospital’s (SGH’s) otolaryngology department, Dr Barrie Tan.

Dr Low Wong Kein, senior ear specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, said besides hearing impairment, constant exposure to loud noises can cause health problems such as hypertension and heart disease.

Psychologist Nishta Geetha Thevaraja from the SGH department of psychiatry said personal and work relationships can be affected by irritability and anger issues brought about by noise pollution. Those who have become accustomed to loud noises are “usually unaware of these implicit effects noise pollution has on their lives”, she added.


NO SOUND OF SILENCE

World Health Organisation guidelines say 70 decibels is the sound level which – if someone is exposed to it consistently for a full day – can lead to hearing impairment. Here’s how Singapore and other cities stack up.

SINGAPORE

The mean noise level is 69.4 decibels, according to an NUS study. It is averaged from more than 18,000 sound readings taken over a 2½-month period.

NEW YORK CITY

Noise generally hovers around 70 decibels on the streets of Manhattan, according to measurements taken by magazine NYMag.

TAINAN

A 2009 traffic noise study conducted in Taiwan’s Tainan city in 2009 found that 90 per cent of the population was exposed to more than an average of 62 decibels during peak hours.

HONG KONG

In one of Asia’s busiest financial hubs, 13.6 per cent of the population is exposed to a noise level of above 70 decibels, according to the government’s Environmental Protection Department.

SHANGHAI

Road noise on Shanghai’s streets hits an average of 71.9 decibels during the day and drops to 65.9 decibels at night, according to newspaper Shanghai Daily.

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Categories
Asia Noise News

City noise pollution linked to hearing loss: study

Urban noise pollution and hearing loss are closely linked, according to rankings of 50 large cities in both categories released on Friday.

High-decibel urban areas — such as Guangzhou, New Delhi, Cairo and Istanbul — topped the list of cities where hearing was most degraded, researchers reported.

Likewise, cities least afflicted by noise pollution — including Zurich, Vienna, Oslo and Munich — registered the lowest levels of decline in hearing.

This statistical link does not necessarily mean the constant din of city life is the main driver of hearing loss, which can also be caused by infections, genetic disorders, premature birth, and even some medicines.

The findings are also preliminary, and have yet to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

“But this is a robust result,” said Henrik Matthies, managing director of Mimi Hearing Technologies, a German company that has amassed data on 200,000 people drawn from a hearing test administered via cell phones.

“The fact that noise pollution and hearing loss have such a tight correlation points to an intricate relationship,” he told AFP.

Researchers at Mimi and Charite University Hospital in Berlin explored the link by constructing two separate databases.

The first combined information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Norwegian-based technology research group SINTEF to create a noise pollution ranking for cities around the world.

Stockholm, Seoul, Amsterdam and Stuttgart were also among the least likely to assault one’s ears, while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Barcelona came out as big noise makers.

Paris — one of the most densely populated major cities in Europe — scored as the third most cacophonous.

The ranking for hearing loss drew from Mimi’s phone-based test, in which respondents indicated age and sex. Geo-location technology pinpointed the cities.

‘Silent epidemic’

The results were measured against a standard for age-adjusted hearing.

On average, people in the loudest cities were ten years “older” — in terms of hearing loss — than those in the quietest cities, the study found.

Stacked side-by-side, the two city rankings are remarkably similar, suggesting more than an incidental link.

The findings highlight the need for better monitoring, the researchers said.

“While eye and sight checks are routine, ear and hearing exams are not,” said Manfred Gross, head of the department of Audiology and Phoniatrics at Charite University Hospital.

“The earlier hearing loss is detected, the better the chances are for preventing further damage.”

Collaborations between scientists and private companies that collect health-related information from consumers are becoming more common in the era of Big Data.

California-based DNA genetic testing company 23andMe, for example, has worked extensively with university researchers to ferret out rare genetic disorders by combing through mountains of anonymous data from its clients.

Also on Friday, World Hearing Day, the WHO released figures showing annual costs of unaddressed hearing loss of between US$750 billion and US$790 billion globally.

Direct health care costs were calculated to be up to US$107 billion, with loss of productivity due to unemployment or early retirement about the same.

“Societal costs” — stemming from social isolation, inability to communicate and stigma — were estimated at more than US$500 billion.

In a recent editorial, the medical journal The Lancet said hearing loss is a “silent epidemic,”noting that proper care remains out of reach for millions of people.

Mimi Hearing Technologies develops music applications that adjust to the individual hearing deficiencies of listeners.

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