[Featured image by Adam Schwarz on Unsplash] With global awareness rising about climate change, it has never been more important to find out where government authorities stand on federal air pollution plus noise pollution public policy. The combined public health risk from air pollution plus noise pollution is worse than either alone.
Fighting air pollution without addressing noise pollution will not help the public health crisis or environmental impact on habitats and other species.
It is important for elected officials to consider the combined risks in national decisions that could positively or negatively impact current and future generations.
The following education report focuses on Canadian issues. It compares what is (not) happening in Canada compared to models used in the USA and countries in the European Union including the UK unless it is still included under the Environmental Noise Directive after Brexit.
If this is an election year for your country (e.g. Canada, USA) think about which federal candidate would best protect people of all ages and incomes-as well as other species-from all pollution risks.
Where does your candidate or representative stand on their federal responsibility to protect all communities from air pollution plus noise pollution?
Does your federal candidate or representative support air pollution and noise pollution public policy measures to protect disability access, communication access, public health, (and environmental health)?
Education Report Excerpt:
“Air pollution plus noise pollution together are a serious public health risk around the world. Governments have done little to protect their citizens. We need a sustainable approach in Canada: federal air pollution plus noise pollution public policy. There are many reasons noise pollution is equally important to prevent along with air pollution.
Air Pollution Plus Noise Pollution
Noise pollution public health limits are based on single source noise exposure, e.g. air traffic or road traffic. This underestimates adverse non-auditory and/or auditory health effects from community exposures from multiple pollution sources. For example:
Air pollutant + noise pollutant (e.g. aircraft)
Air pollutant-noise pollutant + air pollutant-noise pollutant e.g. air traffic plus road traffic.
The combined public health risk of more than one pollutant is greater than either pollutant alone.
The European Commission estimates that the social cost of noise and air pollution is up to €1 trillion every year (European Commission, 2016a).
The guidelines do not include recommendations about any kind of multiple exposures. In everyday life people are often exposed to noise from several sources at the same time. In Germany, for example, 44% of the population are annoyed by at least two and up to five sources of noise (Umweltbundesamt, 2015). For some health outcomes, such as obesity, new evidence indicates that combined exposure to noise from several means of transportation is particularly harmful (Pyko et al., 2015; 2017). Research indicates that, alongside exposure to more than one source of noise, combined exposure to different factors – for example, noise and vibration or noise and air pollution – has gained increasing relevance in recent years (Sörensen et al., 2017).World Health Organization (2018, p. 8)
© 2019 J. L. Mayes
[End of Excerpt]
Given the high risk of air pollution plus noise pollution and the urgency of taking action against climate change, the federal government may need to consider a funding role to ensure green infrastructure, green energy, and green transportation measures are also quiet enough to protect public health. In International Approaches to Infrastructure Governance (Canada’s Public Policy Forum, 2014, p. 5) the report covers “governance structures, approaches to financing…and how sustainability considerations impact infrastructure investments, reflecting the need to take into account broader environmental and social goals.”
The full report is free to share unchanged for educational purposes. Use the link or click the button to read the full report document or pdf.
Mayes, J.L. (2019, October 6). Canada: Federal air pollution plus noise pollution public policy. Noise Pollution Education Report: 1-10. Available from https://janlmayes.com/education/
(Post revised October 7, 2019)
Jan L. MayesMSc, Aud(C), RAud
Author, audiologist, educator, quiet activist, playing with words.