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Papers of the Week

2021 May 21

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int

Urban noise assessment and its nonauditory health effects on the residents of Chiniot and Jhang, Punjab, Pakistan.


Farooqi Z U R, Ahmad I, Zeeshan N, Ilić P, Imran M, Saeed M F
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 May 21.
PMID: 34018118.


Elevated noise level is an emerging global problem. Therefore, the present work is conducted that can improve, increase, and integrate the already known issue in literature with new information coming from an emerging country such as Pakistan. The objectives of this study were (i) to assess the urban noise levels and traffic density of Chiniot and Jhang and (ii) to determine nonauditory health effects of noise levels on the residents of both cities. Noise levels were examined from 181 locations (103 from Jhang and 78 from Chiniot) and categorized into hospitals, educational, religious and recreational, residential, industrial areas, and traffic intersections. A-weighted noise level measurements were taken using an integrated sound level meter which recorded short-term road traffic noise continuously for 15 min at each location (LA). The urban noise data showed 82% of the sites in Jhang (LA = 103 dB) and 95% in Chiniot (LA = 120 dB) exceeded the noise limits set by the National Environment Quality Standard of Pakistan (NEQS-Pak) and World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, higher intensity of noise levels (LA ≥ 100 dB) was recorded in Chiniot (17 sites) than in Jhang (1 site). Regression analysis showed a relatively strong relationship of traffic density with noise at Chiniot (R = 0.48) compared to Jhang (R = 0.31). However, spatial variability of noise with traffic density was observed in both cities. Survey study revealed that all the respondents in Jhang and Chiniot suffered from many noise-related health problems such as annoyance (53 and 51%), depression (45 and 47%), dizziness (61 and 65%), headache (67 and 64%), hypertension (71 and 56%), hearing loss (53 and 56%), physiological stress (65 and 65%), sleeplessness (81 and 84%), and tinnitus (70 and 62%) due to noise, respectively. We conclude that noise levels are higher in Chiniot primarily due to high road traffic and secondarily due to high population density. It is recommended that vehicle maintenance and family and urban planning could be effective measures to reduce urban noise levels.