Airport Communities Fight for Relief of Noise Pollution


There are numerous beach areas around Los Angeles, and most are picture-perfect. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, by looks alone you could call almost any spot along the shoreline perfect for an enjoyable beach day. You would never know how easy it is to choose the wrong beach. If you should make this mistake, you’ll know it within minutes by the ear-piercing screeches and powerful engine din coming repeatedly from airplanes flying low in the skies above. Travel further and further along the shore toward wealthier areas such as Malibu, however, and this mistake is harder to make. You will notice the airplane noise grows faint and then disappears altogether. “In the U.S., the effects are disproportionately felt in low-income and minority communities,” writes Eilis O’Neill in an informative piece for City Lab.

Airplane noise pollution has been shown in recent studies to have numerous harmful effects on those exposed regularly to it.  Although the planes of today are quieter than they were at one time, people living in fly-over neighborhoods still experience a host of negative consequences. The effects of noise pollution are said to be cumulative, so those only occasionally exposed to city noise would likely not notice the impact suffered by communities in the path of airplanes.  Such ill effects include hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and sleep disturbance. Changes in the immune system and even birth defects have also been attributed to noise exposure. It causes a loss of focus for students and working people, and is said to stimulate aggressive and anti-social behavior.

In late September of 2017 the Federal Aviation Administration was due to be reauthorized in Congress, but was granted a 6-month extension to allow lawmakers more time to debate issues such as air-traffic control and pilot training. With the extension due to expire March 31, some lawmakers who understand the nature of airplane noise pollution and how important the issue is to fly-over communities hope the reauthorization can also serve as a useful way to rethink noise regulations.

Click the link below to read O’Neill’s piece and learn more:

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