Shanghai may have the glamour of an international city in many aspects, but it is certainly not "a friendly city for the ears". Noise made by vehicles, construction sites, crowded stores and markets, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues has been rising over the past decade. People’s discontent about increasing noise harassment tops other complaints about the environment they live in. Victims’ exposure to noise is high above the tolerable level. With noisy surroundings, people can get earache more easily and suffer from unsound sleep and bad memories. They can also have neural and cardiovascular diseases.
Noise pollution is only one of the fallouts from unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization. There are some reasons that explain the attitude of the noise criminals and also of the victims of noise pollution: insufficient infrastructure, unqualified drivers who honk unnecessarily and frequently, cultural and social habits, lack of effective law enforcement, low awareness of people and the population pressure.
I still bear in my mind an impression of the annoying ruckus of an old Shanghai, represented by diesel vehicles with dark smoke and thrilling noise! According to local traffic rules, drivers are banned from honking their horns inside the Inner Ring Road as well as some parts of the city’s exterior areas. While the ban has been in effect for several years, it is incredible and terrible that drivers continuously produce so much noise. But some local drivers said they are forced to break the rule out of safety concerns. Jaywalkers, bad drivers and cyclists who dart across the streets without looking are the reason local drivers spend a lot of their time on the road honking the horn, as many local residents say the city’s streets are too noisy.
Because of the limited amount of land downtown, many high-rises have to be built along or surrounded by the elevated roads or road with heavy traffic, meaning residents are forced to put up with a lot of load noise. Probably a much more effective solution is to put double-paned glass in all residential buildings (like ours) to greatly reduce noise pollution.
Additionally, many residents complain about noise from other sources, such as night clubs and even downtown parks or public places where senior citizens often take part in morning exercises. Noise is omnipresent, like loud music in a cheap restaurant or a barber’s shop. When you embark on an ambitious remodeling project, the construction work will adversely affected the outdoor environment by creating excessive noise and that will drive your close neighbors crazy!
Multifarious efforts by various sectors are required to control noise pollution and improve the environmental conditions of the city in general. Government’s noise pollution control regulations make a positive sign. Some other solutions might be tried like planting more trees, making city streets off-limit for heavy trucks, installing more traffic signs, creating public awareness, strictly enforcing and implementing rules and regulations, and adjusting some cultural manners.