Does noise pollution only affect humans?

July 3, 2018

Noise is annoying. We hate when there’s too much of it. We simply can’t concentrate with our work or watch our movie when there’s just so much noise from the streets, from the honking of the cars to, to the clanging and banging in construction sites. Actions have been taken by town councils to mitigate the amount of noise generated in residential and urban areas, such as the installation of noise barriers, which has brought us some form of peace and satisfaction to residents. However, does the job of mitigating noise pollution end there? Have we ever thought of noise pollution that occurs in non-urban areas, such as the wild?

 

Places like the Arctic boasts a vast range of animals and species. For instance, the Arctic whales, Dolphins, Polar Bears, Seals and so much more. However, it also boasts several ships and vessels that passes by every single day, be it tourists or not. The amount of noise generated from ships can be devastating for whales and dolphins, as it can interfere with their communication in the waters, potentially causing fatal crashes with the ships and vessels. Apart from that, whales and dolphins mainly use sound to locate their preys and perform daily activities, being extremely sensitive to it. With the amount of noise coming from the ships and vessels, and a huge possibility of collisions between them and the whales, it could disrupt their livelihood, and could even cause their death.

“We could aim to develop some mitigation strategies in the Arctic that help ships avoid key habitats, adjust their timing taking into account the migration of animals, make efforts to minimise sound disturbance, or in general help ships detect and deviate from animals”

Newly opened shipping lanes are being developed and opened to allow ships and vessels to pass through safely, without affecting any form of Arctic life, such as the Whales and Polar Bears. Despite this, the move has been met with some form of skepticism by environmental groups as some felt that it was ironic that rapidly warming Arctic seas are being used as a highway for fossil fuel transport. International journeys could also be delayed by a few weeks by using the new lanes.

 

We have always been thinking about ourselves, finding ways to satisfy and meet our own needs and wants. It’s time we also think about our partners that are sharing the earth with us, the animals.  

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