General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr Adedolapo Fasawe, has advocated the need for a noiseless Lagos through reduction of vehicular noise.
The GM, who made this advocacy at the eight edition of Noiseless Lagos Campaign, said,”noise pollution is the undesirable persistent sound resulting from various human activities, especially in cities.
” According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), noise pollution can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health, as well as our overall quality of life.
“With the increase in population and the need for transportation within cities, the increasing vehicular use has become a major source of unpleasant noise and often overwhelming aspects of modern urban life.
“The sound of cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles can be heard virtually everywhere, from the bustling city streets to the quietest suburbs”.
Noting that one of the most obvious problems with vehicular noise is its sheer volume, she said trucks, cars, and motorcycles can produce noise levels of up to 100 decibels.
This kind of noise, she added can be incredibly stressful and can cause hearing damage if a person is exposed to it for prolonged periods.
“It can also interfere with communication, making it difficult to have conversations or hear important warnings. In a megacity like Lagos with several uninformed drivers about the hazards of noise pollution, their indiscriminate use of vehicle horns makes the situation considerably worse.
“In addition to its physical effects, vehicular noise can also have negative impacts on our mental health. It can create a constant sense of agitation and frustration, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
“This is evidenced in the high level of annoyance, road rage, mood swings, and other negative behaviors exhibited by road users in Lagos. The constant barrage of noise can make it difficult to relax or concentrate, and disrupt sleep patterns, leading to decreased productivity, sleep depravity and associated health problems, and an overall sense of unease for others in their respective homes and offices.
“Studies have shown that even low levels of noise can interfere with sleep quality and duration, leading to fatigue, irritability, and decreased cognitive function. On the environment, vehicular noise can disrupt the natural habitats of animals and birds, leading to a loss of biodiversity that makes a city serene,” she said.
On what LASEPA has done thus far she said: “We at the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), having identified the negative implications of vehicular noise on the health and the natural environment in Lagos State, conducted our 8th awareness campaign on Noiseless Lagos on 10 May 2023 at the Johnson Jakande Tinubu (JJT) Park, Alausa, Ikeja.
“Through the campaign, in collaboration with the Lagos State’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Transport, we brought together a wide section of society to provide the necessary awareness of the need to minimize vehicular noise through behavioral changes and enforcement of noise regulations.
” The team of audiologists we engaged for the campaign conducted random free hearing tests for the public participants at the event. The result indicates that out of the 32 people tested, 25 percent suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. About 22 percent of the people have general hearing loss not due to noise, and another 22 percent have normal to mild hearing loss.
“Those with wax occlusion constitute 16 percent, while those with normal hearing make up the remaining 15 percent. This indicates that one in four persons in Lagos potentially suffers from hearing loss due to noise pollution. A closer look at the noise-induced hearing impairment indicates this could be occupational.
“For example, noise-induced hearing loss in Lagos could be as high as 78 percent among textile industry workers, and 8.3 percent among the most exposed brewery workers.
“According to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 12.5 percent of children and adolescents aged 6-19 years, and 17 percent of adults aged 20-69 years have hearing impairment resulting from excessive exposure to noise globally. Additionally, in the United States, the CDC estimated that about one in four (24 percent) adults suffer from noise-induced hearing loss in 2017.
“Finally, it is important to reiterate that vehicular noise is a significant problem that affects both our physical and mental health, as well as our environment. I am committed to work with the relevant regulatory agencies in Lagos to deploy regulatory measures to reduce noise levels, such as improved traffic management, better insulation, and the use of quieter vehicles.
“On the part of LASEPA, I will continue to advocate behavioral changes, greater awareness and enhanced enforcement of noise-reduction regulations to ensure we build a quieter, more peaceful Lagos State. Let us support LASEPA to build a noiseless and more productive Lagos.”