An assessment of residential exposure to environmental noise at a shipping port
11T15:11:44Z July 2014
The World Health Organisation has recently acknowledged that contrary to the trend for other environmental stressors, noise exposure is increasing in Europe. However, little research has been conducted on environmental noise exposure to handling activity at shipping ports. This paper reports on research examining the extent of noise exposure for residents within the vicinity of Dublin Port, Ireland using the nation's largest port terminal as a proxy for port noise. In order to assess the level of exposure in the area, long-term measurements were undertaken at the most exposed residential façade for a period of 45 days to determine the extent of night-time exposure that was above levels recommended by the World Health Organisation. The indicators L90, Leq and LMax were used to determine exposure levels. The results show that exposure is above night-time guideline limits set down by the WHO, above Irish levels for the assessment of noise mitigation and highlight the extent to which port noise can be a significant environmental stressor. The research also investigated the extent of low-frequency noise (which is associated with greater health issues) from night-time port handling activity and found a significant low-frequency component indicating the negative health issues that might arise from port noise exposure more generally. We also undertook semi-structured interviews with residents to qualitatively assess the self-reported impact of prolonged night-time noise exposure for local residents.
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