February 2022

Talking about the environment must make noise


6.5 million Europeans suffer from sleep problems related to surrounding noise.

22 million Europeans live with a high level of annoyance caused by environmental noise on a daily basis.

48,000 Europeans are diagnosed with noise-related heart disease every year.

These two figures should be on the reader’s mind, either because they have already been affected – perhaps unknowingly – or because they could be affected in the future.

The European Environment Agency warns in its Report ‘Noise in Europe 2020’, which you can read in the Archives section.

Road traffic is by far the most important source of noise pollution in Europe, and in the Member States, the most frequent measures taken to mitigate noise levels in cities are

  • replacing paved roads with smoother asphalt
  • better management of traffic flows
  • lowering speed limits to 30 kilometres per hour
  • projects to mask traffic noise by making urban centres more pleasant to the ear, such as waterfalls
  • encouraging the use of less noisy modes of transport such as cycling, electric vehicles or walking
  • creating so-called quiet zones; in most cases, these are parks and other green spaces where residents can escape from city noise

However, the above-mentioned research by the European Environment Agency found that quiet green spaces are difficult to find and cannot be reached within a 10-minute walk from citizens’ homes.

Perhaps in the so-called ‘city in 15 minutes’ we could also think about protecting citizens from environmental pollution? We have already discussed the macro-theme “15 minutes city” with Carlos Moreno, Beppe Sala and Cristina Chiavarino, and you can review the green talks here.

You can consult the version updated to July 2021 of Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise in the Archives section.

And on the green jobs front: Legislative Decree 42/2017 established the national list of technicians competent in environmental acoustics. This professional figure carries out activities of measurement, control and remediation of noise pollution in the outdoor and living environment. Article 22 lists the requirements to exercise this important green profession.

And we conclude by presenting xxx’s exhibition, because “culture is an ornament in good fortune, a refuge in bad fortune”, quoting Aristotle, so let us escape from the surrounding noise and take refuge in the artist’s photos.

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