Noise pollution could be harming our way of life

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There are sounds most of us have grown to accept as a part of daily life: emergency sirens, the roar of a jetliner taking off, engines of all types revving up in heavy traffic, not to mention the ear-splitting vibrations coming from huge speakers at public or private functions. There is a kind of “grin and bear it” attitude from many who prefer to avoid being branded as out of date with modern life by some who have little regard for others when it comes to loud noises.

Major demonstrations were held in various parts of the world recently, in protest at nations not doing enough to alter climate change that is largely attributed to massive emissions of gases from giant plants, which scientists have concluded damage our protective shield from the sun’s powerful rays. In fact, there are signs in the Arctic of alarming changes in the rate of ice melting, putting life in those parts under threat. In other words, much of the world is accepting science over the views of some politicians who regard economic gain as far more important than being concerned about climate change. Some leaders question the findings of scientists, despite mounting evidence in their favour.

However, another type of pollution is equally causing concern because in many ways, it can lead to health defects and also affect behavioural patterns.

In many parts of the modern world, and that includes Bermuda, noise pollution is getting closer scrutiny, especially since what could be music for some is an absolute annoyance to others. With tightly knit communities such as what we have, it becomes a delicate situation because there are people who play anything they want, as loud as they want, irrespective as who may be offended.

In many cases, people are reluctant to complain because attitudes these days can be unpleasant from people who feel their rights override the rights of others.

Even the police, who have their hands full with a number of issues, would rather people use common sense when holding parties or events with loud music that could disturb the privacy of others.

This summer is packed with numerous events, and Bermudians always look forward to enjoying themselves with family gatherings, parties and outdoor events such as the annual Cup Match, plus the existing county matches. In addition, our island will be a centrepiece, as much of the world will be tuned in to the America’s Cup, which is due to get under way in a matter of weeks. A Bermuda summer can be a beautiful experience, and most of us are fully aware that, just as in other parts of the world, there have been changes in our social infrastructure that require us to be a little more alert to negative elements that lurk beneath the surface.

While people like to have fun, there are some parties where the noise is so excessive that, to communicate, people are texting each other in the same room. That may be a part of modern life, but if the music is that loud, nearby neighbours could be made to feel like audio hostages. Unfortunately for many, when a party is in full swing with minds swirling and alcohol and illicit drugs in proximity, the outside world is non-existent.

That is sad because everyone is entitled to a degree of privacy within their homes without audio invasions that can make life uncomfortable. While no one wants to be a party spoiler, there should at least be consideration for the elderly, where a constant thumping sound late at night is far from pleasant.

There are plenty of loud sounds in community life that are a part of our environment, and most people cope well with that. On the other hand, perhaps our legislators could take another look at whether people could be made more sensitive to the issue of excessive noise levels without people feeling their rights are being infringed. It requires delicate diplomacy, but it is important that everyone has a right to enjoy peace in their homes.

Our peaceful way of life could be damaged if we fail to address this delicate subject, which continues to affect parts of our community life, especially during the summer months.

Bermuda is still very special, but we need to ensure that it remains that way.

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Published May 4, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 4, 2017 at 7:43 am)

Noise pollution could be harming our way of life

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