As urbanization progresses and over a half of the global population and three-quarters of the European Union’s population live in urban centers, an increasing number of people are exposed to a noise pollution.
MODERN MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTIONS
One of the ways to protect the population against the noise is reducing it directly at the source. When it comes to cars, the important thing is the use of low-noise tires, which reduces the noise level by up to 3-4 dB, or choosing the electric car. For European rolling stock the iron brake pads are being replaced with silent ones, which can reduce the emissions by 8-10 dB. Many European countries are also testing quiet road surfaces, containing rubber crumbs from recycled car tiers. As the solution for aviation, the improvement of aircraft engine technology or aircraft construction, among others, has been proposed. The introduction of jet engines reduced the volume of aircrafts by 25 dB, which corresponds to an 80% reduction in noise. As a result, the more modern the aircraft, the lower the noise emissions. Equally important are numerous research projects, such as the EU’s Clean Sky programme. Within its framework, designers of Airbus and Saab models are developing a new, 10-meter long wingtip, which reduces the air resistance and thus reduces the noise emissions.
Another way of protection is to improve the acoustic comfort of residents living in the areas most exposed to noise. A commonly used method of protection against the noise are sound absorbing screens, erected along railways and roads, and insulation of buildings. Responsible companies, which want to minimize the negative impact on the environment, are also implementing programes aimed at improving the quality of residents’ life. One of the example is the “Program for improving acoustic comfort for residents of the Restricted Area for the Krakow-Balice Airport”. The program has been prepared on the basis of experience gained through two pilot editions. After being qualified for the program and having done an acoustic analysis along with the necessary inventory, the airport finances the replacement of external windows and doors for ones with increased insulation.
PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
Many cities introduce traffic management strategies restricting access to cars in the center, and campaigns promoting eco-driving are being carried out, contributing to the reduction of exhaust fumes and noise. And when it comes to aviation, the SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) research program is being implemented, aiming at modernization and harmonization of European air traffic control systems in order to develop procedures for reducing noise during a take-off and landing.
TURN NOISE INTO ENERGY
Peugeot showed how to “use” noise. The company carried out an innovative experiment – together with the BETC advertising agency they presented a billboard for charging electric vehicles. It consists of thousands of acoustic sensors and is able to transform the sound waves vibrations emitted by the city into the electricity. The billboard was produced in cooperation with the Clear Channel display network and was exhibited at Porte Maillot in Paris on October 23-29, 2019. As Thierry Lonziano, Global Marketing and Communication Director at Peugeot, said in an official announcement. this is just the beginning – but very encouraging.
*Source: European Environment Agency, WHO, 2017