Introduction. Noise pollution is one of the main causes which worsen the quality of life in urban areas. European Union estimates that around 20% of European population suffer from noise exposure. Although the noise-induced annoyance is one of the most negative health impacts, few studies evaluated this effect in the city of Rome. Aim of the study was to assess the acoustic levels and the perceived annoyance by residents in the “Nomentano” section of Rome, taking into account the territorial structure. Methods. From 2004 to 2005, 19 sampling places have been chosen according to three categories of streets (“with flowing traffic”, “with medium level traffic” and “local” streets); the Laeq’s were taken during the day and the night in each street. The results were compared with the prescribed noise’s limit values of the current national regulations (DPCM 14.11.1997). In addition, interviews by questionnaire were carried out in 255 subjects over 10 years old (0,6% of residents) to investigate about their perceived annoyance level. 2 test for trend was used to assess whether there were difference among the proportions of disturbed subjects by categories of streets. Results. Registered noise levels in the flowing traffic and medium level traffic streets systematically exceeded the prescribed noise’s limit values (by up to 15 dBA). In “local“ streets noise levels exceeded limit values in 78% of day measurements and in 84% of those at night. There was a reduction in noise level by category of streets. Residents’ perceived annoyance levels depend on street category: 62.5% of “very much annoyed” live along flowing traffic streets, 37.4% along medium level traffic streets and 10% along local streets (2 test for trend p<0.001). 48.4% of those annoyed affirmed to be disturbed by road traffic noise in night-time, with probably negative effects on sleeping quality; the proportion of those annoyed increases with the street’s traffic level (2 test for trend p<0.001). About 42% of those interviewed declared to have adopted noise defence measures, such as house insulation or changes in rooms destination. 62% of interviewed referred to have difficulty in intellectual activity and 30% in conversation when windows are open. Discussion and conclusions. In the last few years several ad hoc Acts and interventions against urban noise had been approved and enforced, but pollution levels are still high, negatively influencing the resident’s quality of life. It confirms the need to extend the survey to the entire city area in order to elaborate more effective preventive approaches.

Impact of noise pollution on the resident's quality of life in a section of the City of Rome / Rini, F.; Chiarello, P.; Vasapollo, R.; D'Alessandro, Daniela. - In: EPIDEMIOLOGY. - ISSN 1044-3983. - ELETTRONICO. - 17:S (supplemento)(2006), pp. S507-S508. ((Intervento presentato al convegno ISEE/ISEA 2006 Conference tenutosi a Paris (France) nel 2006.

Impact of noise pollution on the resident's quality of life in a section of the City of Rome

Rini, F.;Chiarello, P.;D'Alessandro, Daniela
2006

Abstract

Introduction. Noise pollution is one of the main causes which worsen the quality of life in urban areas. European Union estimates that around 20% of European population suffer from noise exposure. Although the noise-induced annoyance is one of the most negative health impacts, few studies evaluated this effect in the city of Rome. Aim of the study was to assess the acoustic levels and the perceived annoyance by residents in the “Nomentano” section of Rome, taking into account the territorial structure. Methods. From 2004 to 2005, 19 sampling places have been chosen according to three categories of streets (“with flowing traffic”, “with medium level traffic” and “local” streets); the Laeq’s were taken during the day and the night in each street. The results were compared with the prescribed noise’s limit values of the current national regulations (DPCM 14.11.1997). In addition, interviews by questionnaire were carried out in 255 subjects over 10 years old (0,6% of residents) to investigate about their perceived annoyance level. 2 test for trend was used to assess whether there were difference among the proportions of disturbed subjects by categories of streets. Results. Registered noise levels in the flowing traffic and medium level traffic streets systematically exceeded the prescribed noise’s limit values (by up to 15 dBA). In “local“ streets noise levels exceeded limit values in 78% of day measurements and in 84% of those at night. There was a reduction in noise level by category of streets. Residents’ perceived annoyance levels depend on street category: 62.5% of “very much annoyed” live along flowing traffic streets, 37.4% along medium level traffic streets and 10% along local streets (2 test for trend p<0.001). 48.4% of those annoyed affirmed to be disturbed by road traffic noise in night-time, with probably negative effects on sleeping quality; the proportion of those annoyed increases with the street’s traffic level (2 test for trend p<0.001). About 42% of those interviewed declared to have adopted noise defence measures, such as house insulation or changes in rooms destination. 62% of interviewed referred to have difficulty in intellectual activity and 30% in conversation when windows are open. Discussion and conclusions. In the last few years several ad hoc Acts and interventions against urban noise had been approved and enforced, but pollution levels are still high, negatively influencing the resident’s quality of life. It confirms the need to extend the survey to the entire city area in order to elaborate more effective preventive approaches.
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