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The Exposure to Noise: a real and present Danger

By NOMAD [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

According to the World Health Organisation about 1 Million life years are lost every year across Western Europe as a result of noise from transport. Noise increases cardiovascular and blood pressure diseases, but also other pathologies. And noise is the second largest environmental cause of health problems, just after the impact of air quality. More specifically, around 60% of European citizens that live in urban areas, which represents around 125 Million people are exposed to noise pollution from transport at levels which may have a serious impact on their health. The noise would be the direct cause of 16,600 premature deaths each year in Europe (Fig.UAB). And the noise pollution is probably undervalued. It needs to be better combatted.Overall, environmental noise pollution essentially relates to noise caused by road, rail and airport traffic.But clearly, it is the road traffic which remains the biggest source of noise pollution in Europe. The responses to this major issue could focus on the following actions that will allow a real change in the existing situation.Firstly, improving urban design to reduce traffic volumes in urban areas. Then introducing low noise road surfaces.Lastly,and maybe most of all promoting clear and energy efficient road transport vehicles and in particular the electric car which is significantly quieter than other motor vehicles. Current noise levels which seriously affect the quality of life of too many citizens are unacceptable.There is still a long way to go, but efficient solutions are within reach.

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