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Asia Noise News

Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Risk of hearing loss increasing: experts

Increasing exposure to damaging sound levels in recreational areas and the unsafe use of personal audio devices are putting Cambodians, especially teenagers and young adults, at a high risk of hearing loss, health experts said yesterday.

In a statement issued on Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that at least 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults globally are susceptible to hearing loss due to growing exposure to recreational noise.

Nearly 50 per cent of teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years are prone to hazardous levels of sound from improper personal audio device use while 40 per cent are vulnerable to potentially harmful levels of sound at entertainment venues, according to a recent WHO analysis of data from middle- and high-income countries.

Although low-income countries weren’t included in the study due to a lack of data, Dr Shelly Chadha, WHO’s prevention of deafness and hearing loss technical officer in the Geneva headquarters, said that the threat is “very real” within the general Cambodian population.

“Cambodia is seeing the same trends with regards to recreational noise so the risks are present there too,” Chadha said.

In the National Institute of Statistics’ most recent Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey, 4,155 Cambodians had hearing disabilities.

NGO Deaf Development Programme (DDP) director Charlie Dittmeier, however, said the current number is much higher, with 51,000 profoundly deaf and half a million hard-of-hearing people in the Kingdom.

“Cambodia is a very noisy culture, which is evident through the wall of speakers present at most weddings, funerals and advertisements in the streets,” said Dittmeier. “Due to these factors and people playing their music really loud, the problem is only getting worse.”

Under the 2014 Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia, the government is planning to initiate some programs targeting hearing loss prevention and increasing hearing impaired people’s access to health and rehabilitation services.

The government also plans to take over the deaf school operated by NGO Krousar Thmey in 2020 and is working with DDP to develop a hybrid Khmer-American sign language, Dittmeier added.

But to further combat the problem and lessen risks, Chadha recommended that the government focus on prevention.

“Prevention, after all, is easier and cheaper than cures.”

Source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com

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Asia Noise News

Residents from GB Road Thane demand sound barriers

THANE: Thousands of families living along the busy Ghodbunder Road are having sleepless days due to the extensive noise levels, especially due to heavy vehicles. Some are also complaining about sleep disorders, general irritation and health disorders.

Seeking relief from the pounding noise of containers, trucks and honking of cars, more than 5,000 residents from Rutu Park and Devashree Gardens have joined hands to demand immediate installation of sound barriers and other environmental protection.

In fact, the noise levels recorded by the TMC from the terrace of Rutu Park in the first week of January revealed shocking decibels all through the day. ”The sound level touched 71.5 decibel in the day, which is way above the permissible level of 55 decibel. At night, the flow of heavy traffic increases and the volume of noise recorded is around 66.5 decibel as against the 45 decibel that has been set by the pollution control department of the TMC,” said a resident of Rutu Park, Rajan Vyawahare.

He added that they have taken up the issue with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Mumbai Entry Point Ltd (MEPL), which looks after the maintenance of bridges on Ghodbunder Road. They have demanded that a sound barrier wall must be installed with immediately effect for the convenience of residents.

”The authorities have put up such sound barriers at BKC, Powai and Dahisar as a protection from the noise from the vehicles speeding on the road. We are asking them to install the same barriers here as it will help reduce the deafening noise,” he said.

Vyavahare said that while containers, trailers and cars create rumbling sounds, ambulances are the noisiest due to their loud sirens. ”Children wake up with a fright and elders have sleepless nights because of the noise. However, it could be reduced if the roads are properly maintained, especially at the slope of the flyover. We have had discussions with the state officials on this issue. The case will also be taken up by top bureaucrats from the MMRDA next week. We are expecting that they come out with a permanent solution to the problem,” he added.

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Asia Noise News

Emissions in parts of city exceed limit

Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Nation

Exhaust fumes from vehicles biggest cause of pollution

BANGKOK: — People living in the capital are now at risk of developing respiratory ailments, according to the state pollution-monitoring agency, which found that the air in five main areas of Bangkok contained high levels of particles from vehicles’ exhaust emissions.

Chatuchak district’s Phaholyothin area had the highest level of black exhaust smoke, with a pollutant level of 154 micrograms per cubic metre, which exceeds the standard air-pollution safety level of 120 micrograms per cubic metre, according to a report conducted by the Pollution Control Department (PCD).

Five most polluted areas

The five areas in Bangkok with the highest levels of air pollution were Ratchathewi district’s Rama VI Road, Chatuchak’s Phaholyothin Rd, Din Daeng Road, the Thonburi area and Pathumwan’s Rama IV Road.

The report noted that the air pollution in these areas was caused by exhaust fumes released by the millions of private vehicles on Bangkok’s roads.

Despite the sharp increase in the number of environmentally friendly cars in the capital during the past few years, air pollution in Bangkok still exceeds the standard level, particularly in high traffic-congestion zones, according to the report.

According to the Land Transport Department, the number of registered cars was more than 7,660,000 as of February 28. Of this number, 1,101,437 were private vehicles and pickup trucks.

Strict measures

In a bid to reduce exhaust emissions, the PCD will instruct relevant agencies to strictly monitor vehicles and take action against drivers whose cars emit excessive exhaust fumes.

During the past 10 years, drivers of more than 36,944 cars have faced suspensions, and 30,160 cars have been banned altogether due to excessive exhaust emissions.

In a related development, the PCD has found that Mae Hong Son province’s Muang district had the highest amount of small particles sized less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10) in the air in the northern region.

The PM10 level in the district was 101-219 micrograms per cubic metre, putting local people at risk of health problems, the department said.

The high level of small airborne particles in the area was blamed on recent large-scale forest fires in the province.

— The Nation 2013-03-16

Geonoise Thailand we are distributor SoundPLAN Software for Noise & Air Pollution Simulation

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Asia Noise News

Six arrested for noise pollution

Six arrested for noise pollution

EASTERN; KENYA: Environment officers enforcing noise pollution laws on the weekend ruined the party for nightclubs in Embu town.

The National Environment Management Authority officers arrested six bar operators and several of their staff for playing loud music.

In a crackdown targeting bars and nightclubs that the residents had complained were creating a disturbance, three bars were found loud playing loud music.

Josiah Nyandoro, an environmental officer, led the operation to arrest a bar owner, three DJs and two managers.

Nyandoro said they raided the bars between 10pm and 1.30am after the bars ignored an earlier directive requiring them not to play excessively loud music that would disturb the residents.

Night limit

“We used a sound metre and found they were all playing music beyond 85 decibels whereas the limit for the night is 35 decibels. Some of the bars tried to prevent us from accessing their premises while in another one the DJ tried to run away,” said Nyandoro, adding that the suspects were locked up at Embu Police Station.

He said they confiscated eight music appliances that included laptops, amplifiers and speakers.

Nyandoro said they would be arraigned before Kerugoya Environment and Land Court today.

“Continuous exposure to noise beyond 85 decibels for ten hours and above can cause total deafness. We will act tough to protect the members of the public from being harmed by loud music,” warned Nyandoro.

By Joseph Muchir

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Asia Noise News

Taiwan’s noise pollution dilemma

Taiwan’s noise pollution dilemma

BBC news;

Living above Taipei’s popular Shida Night Market, retiree John Lin gets little sleep. Until recently, vendors were allowed to stay open until 02:00.

“You hear the customers chatting, the shop owners yelling out the orders, and sometimes the boys and girls arguing below,” said Mr Lin.

“The noise doesn’t stop when they shut down, because the shop owners chat with each other until 03:00.

“Then the cleanup people they’ve hired make noise until 04:00. They’re followed by the government’s own garbage collectors who make noise for another hour,” he said. “You cannot live and you cannot sleep.”

Noise has always been a part of life in Taiwan, especially during its rapid industrialisation from the 1960s to 1990s.

But in recent years, people have become less tolerant of it.

The number of complaints has risen by 15% a year, to some 58,000 last year, according to the government’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

That has forced the EPA to recently announce plans to toughen regulations.

Starting next January, the maximum amount people can make across the board – from homes, to businesses and factories – must drop by three decibels, which would cut the volume by half, officials say.

The time period when people can make loud noise has also been shortened.

The measures will be the toughest ever taken, said Chou Li-chung, an EPA official in charge of dealing with noise.
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The problem is our entire government puts the economy ahead of everything else”

Chang Chia-fongTaipei resident

“Because of the property market boom, there are more buildings, restaurants and businesses. But at the same time, people’s lives are more stressful now,” said Mr Chou.

“They want a peaceful environment. They want a better quality of life. That’s why we’re making our regulations tougher.”

‘Round-the-clock’

The problem stems from Taiwan’s high population density.

The island’s population of 23m people is equivalent to that of Australia, but Taiwan is only a fraction of the size. Most Taiwanese live on just one third of the land; the rest is uninhabited mountains.

With scarcity of land, there’s little zoning – residences, businesses, offices and even some factories are mixed in the same neighbourhoods.

On many streets, the first level of a building is crammed with shops, such as cafes, shoe stores, boutiques, wonton and dumpling eateries, bakeries, hair salons and drug stores. And on the pavements are peddlers hawking snacks.

Above all of this are flats, offices, and more businesses.
A construction site in operation in a neighbourhood in Taipei, 16 July 2012Many residents in Taipei say they find noise levels intolerable

Some of the noise is typical of any developed country – jackhammers, drills and car alarms. But some are telling of Taiwan’s lifestyle: herds of scooters – they’re cheaper than cars and easier to park, but louder.

Even late at night, residents can be kept awake by a nearby restaurant’s loud pet goose, supermarket or restaurants’ ventilation fans and freezers, temples or businesses setting off firecrackers to seek divine protection at ungodly but auspicious hours.

Among the top noisemakers are flat renovators. Since almost everyone lives above, below or next to each other in apartment buildings, the sound can be overwhelming.

Many people put up with it, thinking they might need to remodel one day. But in recent years, many have complained – about one third of noise complaints in Taipei involve remodelling.

Projects can go on for at least a month. Just as one ends, another begins. If a group of investors have bought entire floors of a building, the project can last as long as a year. And work is allowed even on weekends.

In some categories, Taiwan’s regulations are more lenient than that of Japan and China.

“The problem is our entire government puts the economy ahead of everything else,” said resident Chang Chia-fong.

She and others complain that shops are allowed to open even where it is against the law. And when noise police go out to investigate cases, they often don’t issue fines, just give violators time to fix the problem.
Changing lifestyle

A few decades ago when Taiwan was still a developing economy, people were willing to put up with a lot more noise. But now it is a major high-tech centre.

With better jobs and more money, people want a higher quality of life and that includes a quieter environment.

Over the years, the government has taken steps to address the problem, including regulating low-frequency noise like water pumps, and reducing maximum decibels.
Inspectors from Taipei’s Department of Environmental Protection read a sound level meter in Taipei, Taiwan, 16 July 2012The government has received an increasing number of noise complaints in recent years

But it is facing challenges trying to balance the increasing desire for a quieter environment with the need for more economic growth.

Some of the noise-makers argue that noise is inevitable.

“We’ve tried different ways to reduce the amount of noise and vibrations,” said Tsai Sin-fu, a manager at a residential building construction site.

“But people still complain. We try not to let them feel the effects, but we have to finish our construction project.”

There is already criticism that the new rules are not tough enough. But Taiwanese people are unlikely to get any peace and quiet soon.

In anticipation of Chinese investment, major cities here are expected to see a rise in economic activity – and that means more noise.

Back in the Shida Night Market neighbourhood, several people developed depression as a result of the noise, residents said. One family did not open their windows for a year.

After banding together, they pressured the city government to force the vendors to shut down earlier. The businesses are now required to close at 23:30, but many were seen operating past 00:30 recently.

John Lin and his catJohn Lin says one of his neighbours did not open their windows for a year because of the noise

For people like Mr Lin, it’s better than before, especially after he spent $4,000 (£2,573) on extra thick windows.

“It was a horrible way to live,” he said

By Cindy SuiBBC News, Taipei