19.11.2009

First map of Europe's noise exposure

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched the most comprehensive map
of noise exposure to date, revealing the extent to which European citizens are
exposed to excessive acoustic pollution.

The NOISE (Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe) database
provides, at the click of a mouse, a picture of the numbers of people exposed
to noise generated by air, rail and road traffic across Europe and in 102 large
urban agglomerations.

Noise is ubiquitous but its role as a key form of pollution with serious human
health consequences is still underestimated. Prolonged exposure to even low
levels of noise can trigger hypertension and disrupt sleep.

A first glance at Europe's noise exposure map is far from soothing: it is
estimated than half of the population in urban areas with more than 250 000
inhabitants endure levels above 55 dB Lden (the lower EU benchmark for an
average 24-hour period) as a result of ambient road noise. Just over 41 million
Europeans are exposed to excessive noise from road traffic alone in the largest
cities.

Compiling information from 19 of the 32 EEA member countries, the NOISE
database represents a major step towards a comprehensive pan-European service.
Following the adoption of the Environmental Noise Directive (END), Member
States were given until December 2007 to deliver relevant data. Users of the
NOISE database can view the extent of data reported in accordance with the
directive on a colour-coded map.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Environment Agency