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The people of Barcelona at risk from noise pollution

With the arrival of heat and good weather comes that long-awaited moment to open the windows to enjoy the breeze and cool off a bit. But, unfortunately, the high volume of TVs at untimely hours, from little considered neighbors, the music from bars or restaurants, added to cars, garbage trucks, and construction sites, among others, can cause serious health problems.

Anxiety, insomnia, stress, tiredness, and depression are some side effects that someone who sees their rest interrupted daily can suffer. Yet, rest is essential because it fulfills a vital function both physically and mentally (sleeping little weakens the immune system and lowers the defenses).

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that children are most at risk from excess noise, and it has been shown that this can cause cognitive impairments and sleep disorders in children.

On the other hand, there is a close link between hearing loss and noise pollution, as shown in a study carried out by The world Hearing Index, in the busiest cities in the world. Precisely in that study, our beloved Ciutat Comtal obtained 6th place in terms of the hearing loss of its citizens, and its noise pollution levels were higher than, nothing more and nothing less, those of Mexico City.

To give us an idea, in the last census of the busiest countries in the world, Spain ranked in the top 10. That same year, Barcelona was the 3rd city with the highest noise pollution index in the country, with 45.4% higher than that recommended by the WHO.

These numbers give us a brief overview that Barcelona is indeed a noisy city and necessary to take action to be affected by our health and quality of life. For this reason, we should reduce our noise pollution. We can start with minor changes, such as using the car less, lowering the volume of devices (televisions, telephones, computers), not using noisy appliances late at night, and above all becoming aware of respecting the rest from others.

According to the Barcelona City Council, “more than 210,000 people suffer a severe emotional, psychological or social affectation. Due to noise, more than 60,000 people have a severe sleep disorder, and around 3% of annual deaths from cardiovascular diseases are attributable to this cause.”

In front of noisy neighbors, it is best to talk to them to inform them of the situation, the same for bars or restaurants, since they may not even be aware of it. If the problem continues, you can take other measures such as talking to the neighborhood council, calling the Urban Guard, filing a complaint with the City Council. If nothing takes effect, you can file a civil and criminal lawsuit.

The law includes the penalties for noise based on its severity, being mild (up to € 600), severe (up to € 12,000), and very serious (up to € 300,000).

In CALVET, we advise dialogue between the parties on an excellent neighborhood coexistence and improve our quality of life.

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