While Barbadians will be partying this weekend to the sweet sounds of the Crop Over Festival, some staffers of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) will be out monitoring the noise impact of some of the government-sponsored events on the surrounding communities.

This disclosure has come from Deputy Director of the EPD, Anthony Headley, who said staffers would be at the Foreday Morning Jam, Cohobblopot and Grand Kadooment taking sound pressure levels to compare them with the World Health Organisation’s standards, so as to ascertain whether there was any significant health effect arising from the activities.

“We want to make people aware that sound does have an impact and it can be detrimental to one’s hearing. After we have collected and analysed the information, it will be sent to our parent Ministry (Family, Youth, Sports and Environment) and communicated to the National Cultural Foundation.

“Then the NCF will be able to use the information in its future planning, and if need be, encourage certain adjustments to sound levels being generated from some of the activities,” Mr. Headley explained.

The officers will use integrated sound level meters at the events which record minimum and maximum noises.

During this Crop Over season, the EPD also monitored two cavalcades. However, its monitoring programme started last year when the levels at five events were taken.

Sound pressure levels are measured in decibels (dB). Exposure to noise above 85dB (A weighted scale) will cause hearing loss over time, while sound over 140dB (A weighted scale) can cause damage after just one exposure.

The Air and Noise Pollution Section of the Department investigates complaints from persons experiencing problems with environmental noise pollution. Excessive noise in communities is considered a nuisance which can degrade the quality of life of residents. The main sources of noise pollution are construction activities, karaoke bars, nightclubs, personal stereos, public service vehicles, traffic, rum shops and vehicle exhaust systems.

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