April 22 is Earth Day — a celebration of the beauty of nature and the need to protect the planet. Since Earth Day’s founding in 1970, the United States has taken action to reduce air and water pollution. However, the country has done very little to protect against another threat to environmental well-being: noise pollution.
American citizens are pounded constantly by excessive noise from blasting motorcycles, loud car stereos, leaf blowers, piped-in music, car alarms, sports stadiums, train horns and car honking. Our country keeps getter louder — with significance consequences for public health. Excessive noise is correlated with sleep deprivation, hearing loss, chronic fatigue, aggravated behavior, tinnitus (ringing of the ears) and heart disease. The EPA estimates that around 130 million Americans reside in areas with excessive noise.
The Noise Control Act of 1972 established a noise pollution control office within EPA. However, the office was de-funded by the Reagan administration in 1983; Congress has never restored funding. Similarly, federal regulations on excessive motorcycle noise were established in 1983; unfortunately, these regulations are not being enforced.
I encourage all peace-loving individuals to join Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet (www.noisefree.org). Together, we can create a quieter, more peaceful world.