The term exposure to noise pollution: Mitigation of

 

The
airplane is the greatest inventions of the human history at large. Flying
higher and higher in the air like birds had always been one of the dreams of
humans since the beginning of time. The continuous struggle by Wright Brothers,
and many other flying enthusiasts astounded the world when the dream of flying like
birds became reality.

The
aviation industry is experiencing a phenomenal growth, but it is also increasingly
facing the problems such as environmental issues. Environmental impacts of aircrafts
are growing as the demand for flights is increasing. One of the environmental
issues from aviation is noise pollution. The unit to measure noise is called
decibels. For human beings, sounds above 85 decibels causes permanent
damage.  18

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Aircraft
noise affects millions of people all around the world. Community living closer
to the airport is affected the most. Airport noise pollution is not only
detrimental to humans but also to the wildlife. Airplanes generate 150 decibels
during a takeoff, and this is 10 decibels louder than a gunshot. There are
several case studies where children whose schools are near the airport scored
lower on their tests (O’Neil, 2002, F6) and their score significantly improved
when they were moved to quieter location. There are several complaints filed by
the community people living near airport who have interference with their
speech, sleep problems, less concentration power and damage to hearing due the
airplane noise pollution.  Studies have
revealed a link between increased risk cardiovascular diseases and stroke among
people living in areas of regular high noise pollution 13, 14, 15,
16, 17.

Study
performed by University of Agriculture and Ardhi University, Tanzania Student
and Professor group shows the measured noise level during a take-off and
landing at different locations (Waiting lounge, Dispensary, School and
Residential area) near airport reached average of 64.55 dBA during landing and
63.2 dBA during a take-off. They also collected community response to learn
community awareness on aircraft noise pollution on their health. 53% of the
respondents were aware of the side effects of aircraft noise pollution on their
health. This study shows that the noise pollution by airplanes is not only a
problem in USA, but it is there all around the world and, exists at both small
and larger (busier) airports.

 

 

 

Below
figure shows how humans are affected by long term exposure to noise pollution:

Mitigation
of aircraft noise:

To reduce the noise pollution and its
effects on community, Government of different countries are taking steps for
the betterment of human life.

International Civil
Aviation Organization made a policy on aircraft noise, which
details all the elements that can be employed by airport owners to achieve
noise reductions. This is known as Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise
Management. The Balanced Approach involves analysis of noise problem at a
particular airport and exploring various steps that can be taken to mitigate
the noise pollution using objective and measurable criteria. ICAO Balanced
Approach is classified into four parts as shown in Figure 2 below:

 

Figure 2: The four
principal elements of the Balanced Approach to Aircraft Noise Management

 

1.     Reduction of noise at Source:

The
first noise standard developed by the ICAO Committee to reduce aircraft noise
pollution was to estimate noise limits as a direct function of Maximum Take-off
Mass of the aircraft. Noise limits can be used to recognize heavier airplanes, which
produces more noise than lighter airplane. (Chapter 2 Noise Standard contained
in Annex 16, Volume I)

Although
noise levels are lowering with the introduction of new quieter aircrafts with
higher bypass ratio and fuel efficiency, and the retirement of older aircraft,
these improvements are being offset by increasing air traffic. Further, noise
reduction technologies are used in engine and airframe designs which leads to decrease
in airplane noise. This result in further stringency increase of the noise
standard by ICAO (Chapter 4 Noise Standard contained in Annex 16, Volume I).

                                            

 

 

2.     Land Use Planning and Management:

???Land-use planning and
management is the second mitigation measure to make sure the activities near
airport are compatible with aviation. The main goal of this measure is to
minimize the number of people affected by noise pollution.

ICAO has published a manual in
Annex 16, Volume I, Part IV and in the ICAO Doc 9184, Airport Planning Manual,
Part 2 – Land Use and Environmental Control. The manual provides guidance on
using of various tools to minimize and control the impact of aircraft noise to
human life living near the airport. The manual describes examples of some
States who adopted mentioned practices for land-use planning and management.

3.     Noise Abatement Operational Procedures:

Day-to-day operations also
impacts the noise produced by airports. ICAO assists in developing and making
standards for noise operational procedures that are safe and cost-effective.
The procedures include noise preferred runways and standard procedure for a
take-off and landing, which produces low noise.

4.     Operating Restrictions:

?Noise concerns have made
some States to enforce banning the operation of noisy aircraft at
noise-sensitive airports and reduction in flights in certain hours of the day.

Examples of actions taken by airport owners around the United
States are given below:

·       
Night Time Operating Restrictions – Lindbergh Field in San Diego,
California; Pearl Harbor, Oahu; Washington National 7

·       
Total Jet Ban – Santa Monica Municipal Airport, California;
Watertown Municipal Airport, Wisconsin 7

·       
Limit number of night time operations – Minneapolis- St. Paul 7

·       
Noise Preferential Runways – Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, San Juan,
Boston-Logan, Hartford-Bradley, O’Hare, Midway, Cleveland Hopkins,
Detroit-Wayne County, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Moisant-New Orleans, Denver,
Pittsburgh, LaGuardia, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others 7

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have
also adopted the Aviation Noise Abatement Policy (ANAP) to reduce aircraft
noise at the source – the aircraft itself. FAA has standards and noise limits
which regulates maximum noise level an aircraft can produce. Aircrafts must
achieve the standards to get airworthiness certification.

FAA provides standards and certification based on aircraft
type. FAA also has a list of estimated noise level in a weighted decibel for
certified and uncertified airplanes published on their website. It also
provides list of noise levels for the airplanes currently certified under FAR
Part 36 and under ICAO Annex 16 standards. These estimated levels can be used
by applicants to demonstrate their aircraft’s compliance with Part 36.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is conducting research
through a program called Quiet Aircraft Technology program, which aims to
reduce aircraft noise pollution. NASA aims to develop the technology to reduce
commercial aircraft noise by 10 effective perceived noise dB. NASA has also
been working with the aircraft engine manufacturers to reduce the sound by
designing engines with larger fan blades. Larger fan blades turn at a slower
tip speed, which in turn reduces noise and fuel consumption. NASA Aircraft
Noise Prediction Program (ANOOP, 1996) was used to assess a module which
improves fan noise prediction capability with small turbofan engines. As current
aircraft system noise prediction tools ANOOP rely on current knowledge, the ability
of ANOOP to extrapolate unconventional configurations is not accurate. Because
of this, as a part of Quiet Aircraft Technology Program, a new computational
tool (AVATAR) is under development that will account for engine placement,
individual airframe components and non-standard atmospheric conditions (example:
gradients, wind) for the propagation of sound from the aircraft to the ground.

Community Groups:

There are
several community organizations all around the world that has taken this issue
into their hands to raise awareness and take actions to reduce effect of
airport noise pollution in their everyday life. Even though India is still in
process of making standards, there are several organizations who are raising
awareness among the people living in airport vicinity about the effect of noise
pollution on their health. One of the such organization in India is Awaaz Foundation, they are actively creating awareness of
adverse health effects from noise.

In India, the noise pollution
information was collected for the first time by Awaaz foundation, and it was
presented to the Courts, Citizens, Police, State and Union Government. The step
taken against noise pollution by Awaaz foundation motivated Government of India
to implement rules and regulations. It has now successfully petitioned state
and local government in India to enforce strict noise pollution laws.

Another such organization is AReCO: Alliance of Residents Concerning
O’Hare Inc. This group represents over 1200 residents from 42 communities
concerned about O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Illinois. They are active
since 1994 and have done remarkable work in various ways to protect community
from noise pollution. One of their recent remarkable work was helping homeowners
to noise proof their homes and apartments by proper funding.