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Tehran Noise Pollution  at Record High
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Tehran Noise Pollution at Record High

Noise pollution has reached critical levels in Tehran. For the first time, sound pollution has hit an all-time high, says Zohreh Hesami, head of the Environment and Sustainable Development Headquarters at Tehran Municipality.
In Tehran, the noise pollution index is measured by the 43 stations set up in the city, based on a unit known as decibel (dB). If the sound pollution exceeds 70 dB, the situation is said to be critical.
Noise pollution can be any unwanted or offensive sounds that unreasonably intrude people’s daily activities. When a person drives by open windows in a street, the sound is something like 70 decibels. A whisper is 35 dB and a normal room has a sound intensity of 40 dB. At 45 dB, a person cannot sleep. At 85 dB, the ears are damaged, and at 120 dB, it can be explosive, the Persian-language newspaper ‘Salamat’ reported.
The main reasons for noise pollution are mostly heavy road traffic and transport, construction works and industrial and commercial activities. The most noise pollution comes from cars and motorcycles and construction activity.
Tehran city is the most noise-polluted in Iran. Visitors’ attention is increasingly drawn to the high levels of noise and air pollution. It is worse in the city’s central parts.
The first reason for noise pollution is motor vehicles. More than four million cars ply the city, which contribute more than their fair share to noise/air pollution. Older cars usually produce higher sound pollution. The second reason is the motorcycles, especially those without and/or defective silencers and mufflers.
As Yousef Rashidi, the managing director of Tehran’s Air Quality Control Company says, “49% of the sound pollution in Tehran is produced by motorcycles.”
Nearly 25% of transportation vehicles comprise motorcycles that produce noise of 83 dB from a distance of 10 meters; 60% is attributed to cars, of which 47.8% give out noise above 81 dB. The standard average for sound pollution by cars is 74 decibels.

 Highway Nuisance
The most noise nuisance is on the highways. Tehran, home to more than 12 million people, has 40 freeways where noise nuisance reaches 75-85 dB. Hence, many residential areas in the vicinity are in critical state.
 Shahid Modarres, Shahid Hemat, Imam Ali, Yadegar-e Imam, Kordestan, Hakim and Resalat are among the major freeways exposed to noise pollution of which the highest is attributed to Shahid Hemat highway with 85 dB.
Noise in a residential area should not exceed 55 decibels during the day and be within 45 dB at night. Districts 6, 10, 11, 12, 7, 13, 3, 19, 18 and 2 in the ever-expanding capital are the top 10 sound polluted districts respectively, generating 59-70 dB noise nuisance.
Statistics show that in most of the metropolitan areas, noise pollution is 20 to 30 dB higher than the permissible limits.
Hesami necessitated infrastructure solutions for reducing noise nuisance throughout the city. “Unfortunately there is not much difference in noise pollution during day and night when traffic is much lighter. This is of great concern and could be the result of poor infrastructure development as well as soaring trend of constructions.”
Strict action is needed to combat sound pollution; for instance, making mandatory soundproof walls at building sites and noisy urban highways, especially highways that pass through residential neighborhoods; renovation or phasing out of old cars, banning heavy vehicle transport on city streets as well as expanding the green environment, she added.

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