Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Noise pollution is worsening in HCM city, posing health risks and contributing to social disorder.
Measurements taken by the HCM City University of Natural Resources and Environment at 150 spots in the city showed that excessive noise levels were reported at streets with a high density of vehicles. The pollution surpassed the permissible levels even during night time, between 10pm and 6am.
Similar results were found in examinations conducted by the HCM City Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the noise levels at Hàng Xanh Intersection in Bình Thạnh District, An Sương Intersection in District 12 and Gò Vấp roundabout were measured at over 85 decibels, much higher than the limit of 70 decibels promulgated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
According to Lê Huy Bá, an environmental expert, the causes of noise pollution in the city are urban activities including the sounds from vehicles’ engines and drivers’ honking. The development of new construction works and loud music from bars, restaurants and stores also contributes to the noise level.
Lý Phạm Hoàng Xuân, a doctor from Gia Định People’s Hospital said that noise can cause or worsen many health problems.
“Noise pollution can have negative effective on human health,” he said.
Long exposure to noise will make people lose sensitivity to sound, eventually causing deafness. People living in areas with high levels of noise are often prone to sleep disorder, stress and exhaustion.
If the above-mentioned problems last for a long time, the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, gastric ulcer and mental disorder increases.
“Frequent exposure to loud noise will cause fatigue, tinnitus, sleep disorder and exacerbation of some diseases, especially cardiovascular and blood pressure,” Xuân said.
If a person lived in an environment with a noise level of more than 90 decibels for over 3 months, he would likely suffer hearing loss and had no chance to recover, he stressed.
Noise pollution doesn’t only affect the health of local people, but also causes social disorders.
The number of noise-related cases had risen in HCM City over the past two years, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Three people were reported to be seriously injured in an incident that resulted from loud noise on December 9 last year.
About 8am that day, two groups of men and women armed with knives and sticks chased each other down an alley at Bình Tân District’s Tân Tạo Ward, causing chaos in the area.
The altercation began because a group of workers at a warehouse in the alley often made loud noise at night. Frustrated by their actions, local residents quarreled with these workers and then fought with each other.
In January 2016, six people were sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison for murder.
The incident happened at Tân Thới Nhất Ward in District 12. It originated with a simple act: The owner of a motorbike repair shop frequently tested the engines after repairing motorbikes.
Fed up with the noise from the shop, a young man residing in the neighbourhood incited his friends to destroy the shop. The shop owner then gathered a group of people to take revenge, resulting in the death of one person.
According to environmental experts, noise makes people feel uncomfortable and easily angered, leading to fighting.
Noise over 75 decibels affects the nervous system. Noise of over 100 decibels like those caused by drilling rock and aircraft engines can burst the eardrum and seriously affect the nervous system.
To reduce noise pollution in the city, Phùng Chí Sỹ, director of Environmental Technology Centre under the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, said vehicles should be checked regularly. Those with noise problems should be equipped with a noise reduction system.
Officials should limit the number of personal vehicles and improve the service of the public transport to reduce traffic noise, Sỹ said.
He also said more trees should be planted in residential areas as well as at public areas.
In the meantime, environmental expert Bá said, special attention should be paid to enhance the management on building activities. He suggested covering the construction works carefully to ensure safety as well as prevent the escape of dust and noise. People should be away from areas with loud sound and use sound-proof materials and equipment if needed.
Strict punishment should be imposed on violators, he said.
Under current regulations, noise pollution violations are subject to fines of up to VNĐ160 million (US$7,000) and violators can also be required to suspend operations for three months to a year, depending on the severity of their infringement.
Bá suggested localities intensify efforts to raise people’s awareness on the impact of noise pollutions as well as encourage them to actively report cases of excessive noise to local authorities. — VNS