Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 2 News List

EPA's new noise indicator part of its effort to limit noise

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A new noise indicator has been developed in an attempt to monitor environmental noise, the Environmental Protection Admin-istration (EPA) said yesterday.

According to Leu Horng-guang (呂鴻光), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control, the existing noise indicator and regulations about noise control were largely copied from Japan.

"But recently we found that it was necessary to develop a new noise indicator, which suits local conditions better," Leu said yesterday at a press conference.

Statistics show that the number of reports about noise pollution has significantly increased in recent years, from 7,779 in 1988 to 31,659 last year.

Present regulations set 16 levels which environmental noise cannot exceed, according to the time of day and location.

EPA officials said, however, not all information contained in the noise environment can be easily considered and analyzed. For practical purposes, it needs to be condensed to result in one indicator, which correlates with the overall long-term effects of noise on public health.

Rilla Wang (蔣貽中), the bureau's senior environmental specialist, said that the new noise indicator used those of the EU, Japan and the US as a reference.

To ensure the new indicator correlates with specific effects on human health and performance, a public survey was conducted on the responses to different levels of noise in different areas.

Using the new indicator, the EPA recalculated noise levels recorded by noise-monitoring stations nationwide between 1999 and last year.

The results suggest that the percentage of days when noise levels averaged more than 60 decibels (dB) had been reduced from 59 percent in 1999 to 31 percent last year.

"This suggests that our performance in controlling environmental noise has been improving," Leu said.

Officials said 60dB was used as the standard level based on the guidelines of several international agencies, such as the World Health Organization.

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