Cars whizzing past with their loud engines, angry drivers honking their horns impatiently and custom cars emitting scary booms from their exhaust pipes are part of the usual hubbub for big city dwellers.
A new report by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning says traffic is the major contributor to noise pollution that affects human beings in many cities across the country.
The ministry started developing noise pollution maps for cities in 2012 and since then 23 more cities have been added to the maps that already measured the noise levels in 23 other cities. The new cities added to the maps are less populated compared to others, like Diyarbakır in the southeast or Bolu in northern Turkey, but traffic still plays a major role in noise pollution there.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on the issue, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum said noise pollution has been a significant factor in life quality in cities and they have sped up work to reduce noise and detect its sources since 2012 "to keep public health in good shape." "People are most disturbed by traffic noise. It especially affects people living near highways or busy inner city roads. Airports located downtown are also a primary source of noise pollution.
Other pollutants are railroads near residential areas, entertainment venues [playing loud music] particularly in vacation spots in seaside towns and noise from industrial areas," the minister said.
Fast-growing cities, advanced technologies, an increase in the number of motor vehicles and unplanned urbanization are the main causes of noise pollution in the world. While the effects of noise pollution on human health are being studied and alternative solutions are being sought worldwide, the recent results of studies are frightening. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that 30 percent of people around the world will have hearing problems by 2030. As a first step in the fight against noise pollution, Turkey plans to construct 60,000 square meters of noise barriers in settlements located near busy highways to help cut down noise pollution.