Noise pollution, the biggest silent (but also not so silent) everyday element impacting our wellbeing and physical health.
If you were passing by a green pasture and noticed that it was littered with glass bottles, plastic waste and papers, you would probably be totally outraged. Or just think of sitting in endless traffic jams and breathing exhaust emitting fumes, horrible huh? Yet, it seems that today many of us living in urban areas are exposed to noise levels that are way above the recommended thresholds, and we do not even think twice about it.
With noise, most people assume that it is simply an annoying side effect of modern-day city living -not a problem. And yet, noise is a societal problem. In fact, noise is so omnipresent everywhere in society that it can be called "noise pollution". The EU considers long-term exposure to noise levels over 55 decibels (dB) as high, and health impacts are likely to occur at this level1
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that one of the biggest contributors to noise pollution in Switzerland is road traffic. But did you know that a typical diesel / petrol car emits around 70 dB, a passing diesel truck 85 dB or a single combustion engine motorbike a whopping 100 dB!2
In fact, according to an article published by Medical News Today, unwanted sounds in our lives bring with them a range of negative health effects. Our brains are always monitoring sounds for signs of danger, even during sleep, so even the most innocent sound disturbance can trigger feelings of anxiety and increased sensitivity to stress. One of the challenges is that the noise in our lives is difficult to control, which can lead to a person feeling irritable, on edge, frustrated, or even angry, all of which has a bearing on our personal wellbeing.
So widespread is the issue that the “noise abatement “department in the city of Zurich (yes, this office actually exists!) is looking at investing in noise absorbing materials on its roads with the objective of reducing road noise in Zurich, but we all play a role in reducing the noise in our daily lives.
So what can you do to help control the noise in your life? Well for a start, making the transition to electric mobility dramatically reduces the noise created by your regular journeys. An electric scooter for example, contributes less than 45 dB – a dramatic improvement to its traditional counterparts! It’s no wonder that the popularity of this versatile form of electro mobility is quickly increasing. Zipping around the city on an electric scooter brings with it multiple environmental benefits. Compared to cars and conventional combustion motorbikes, the compact size of e-scooters helps to reduce crowding on our roads in urban areas, but moreover, thanks to the e-scooters quieter ride, you can feel more connected to your local neighbourhood and the environment around you whilst enjoying your personal space on your daily commute.
- EEA Report No 22/2019 - Environmental noise in Europe - 2020. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/environmental-noise-in-europe
- Noise Sources and Their Effects. Outdoor Noise and the Metropolitan Environment.https://www.chem.purdue.edu/chemsafety/Training/PPETrain/dblevels.htm