Letter to the Mayor of Victoria

Dear Mayor Dean Fortin,

Coming from the outside, one can have a more unbiased view on things. As a international environmental technology student at Camosun College, I have noticed a few things around town that I think would further improve the already high living standard of Victoria.

I am a prospecting emigrant from Sweden and the issue I would like to raise to your attention is noise pollution. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Furthermore, stress and hypertension are the leading causes to health problems, whereas tinnitus can lead to forgetfulness, severe depression and at times panic attacks. We all read about beached whales being due to naval sonar – i.e. marine noise pollution. Also worth noticing is that noise pollution is also a cause of annoyance for us humans as well . A 2005 study by Spanish researchers found that in urban areas households are willing to pay approximately four Euros per decibel per year for noise reduction. (REF). That’s a lot of money!

Worth noting as well is that noise pollution often persists because only five to ten percent of people affected by noise will lodge a formal complaint. Many people are not aware of their legal right to quiet and do not know how to register a complaint.

Something that is really bothering me and the people I been asking about this issue is in particular the sirens of the emergency services. Of evident reasons these vehicles are equipped with sirens to call on your attention in traffic, but coming from a city of 250.000 people and living fairly close to the major hospital I didn’t hear as many ambulances as I do here in Victoria. I just feel it seems the drivers of the EMS vehicles like to use the sirens excessively instead of only when absolutely needed, e.g. going through intersection while running a red-light, clearing a path between vehicles and so on. In Sweden they seem to use the sirens more like horns on your own car. Honk when needed and of course use the flashing lights the vehicles are equipped with.

I’m proposing a by-law for the reduction of noise in Victoria.

I hope you agree and you put forward my proposal!

Best wishes,

Stefan Martensson

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Some of the information above are direct quotes from the wikipedia page about Noise Pollution. I do not claim that I have done any of the research nor have the intention of stating that any of the above research is mine. It’s the owner of the contributors of wikipedia and I just borrowed it for this letter with the reference to the page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_pollution

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