In the past thirty years, noise in all areas, especially in urban areas, has been increasing rapidly. There are numerous effects on the human environment due to the increase in noise pollution. Slowly, unresponsively, we seem to accept noise and the physiological and psychological deterioration that accompanies it as an inevitable part of our lives.
Although we attempt to set standards for some of the most major sources of noise, we often are unable o monitor them. Community awareness of environmental noise has increased and there is a higher expectation for State and local government to reduce nose levels.
Noise pollution has become worldwide concern and studies have shown that more than 20% of the world population lives under unacceptable noise levels. Noise pollution can be defined as unwanted or offensive sounds that unreasonably intrude into our daily activities.
It has many sources, most of which are associated with urban development: road, air and rail transport; industrial noise; neighborhood and recreational noise.
A number of factors contribute to problems of high noise levels, including; increasing population, particularly where it leads to increasing arbitration and urban, consolidation; activities associated with urban living generally lead to increased noise levels and increasing volumes of road, rail and air traffic.
Noise pollution can be categorized under the following sources: domestic, industrial, produced by construction works and transport. Domestic noise includes those that are created as a result of certain human activities such as household chores, smaller businesses attached to the home such as corn ills and other noises made by household members.
Previously, industries were located far from human settlement so the issue of noise pollution was mainly not from this source; but these days, most industries are located within vicinities and this causes much noise in the areas they are located.
Modernity and development has paved way for urban construction of roads, buildings and bridges. The end results of these activities are noise pollution. Construction involves quarrying, drilling and other activities that are all accompanied with noise. Road traffic noise is one of the most widespread ND growing environmental problems in urban areas. The impact of road traffic noise on the community depends on various factors such as road location and design, land use planning measures, building design, vehicle standards and driver behavior.
Noise pollution has enormous effects on the human health; in fact, research into the effects of noise on human health indicates a variety of health effects. The WHO suggests that noise can affect human health and well-being in a number of ways, including annoyance reaction, sleep disturbance, interference with communication, effects on social behavior and hearing loss. Noise pollution in Sacra Metropolis, Ghana Noise has become a major problem for many city authorities in Ghana; major cities in the country have become the home of excessive noise as a result of increased business activities.
The capital city is gradually becoming the focal point of noise in the country, in an ever increasing level. Noise-making emanates from various sources including sellers of audio and video equipments. The vendors have adapted the style of mounting loud speakers in pickup trucks and vans, shattering out loud music to sell recorded music impact discs (Cad’s) and videos, in the face of existing laws that strictly prohibit noise making. Again, increase in population has resulted in increased in the number of vehicles, both commercial and private.
During ‘rush hours’, these vehicles use horn-blowing as a communicative tool. They blow them to warn, to force their way through, to exchange pleasantries, to rebuke and also for fun. The impact of the noise is felt by people living near these terminals and pedestrians. Another noted source of noise pollution in Ghana is the churches situated around and within the cities. The church has become an income generation venture; many people operate the church as a full time ‘firm’ that is operational all day.
The end result of the ‘morning devotions’, ‘afternoon prayers’, ‘evening services’, ‘half night services’ and ‘all night services’ are the intense noise experienced by people around that are too complicated to complain. Section 79 of the Local Government Act, 1 993 (Act, 462), frowns on those activities that cause noise pollution. However, city authorities, the Sacra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), and the police have done little to curb this situation.