Noise pollution is pervasive in U.S. protected areas

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  05 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6337, pp. 531-533
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4783

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. eLetters are not edited, proofread, or indexed.  Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g.
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

  • RE: Far from the madding crowd -- why not endow the mute with their rights to build a tranquil world?
    • yue wang, phd candidate, School of Arts, Wuhan University

    The Report “Noise pollution is pervasive in U.S. protected areas” (05 May, Rachel T. Buxton et al., p. 531) raised concerns for me about our future alternatives to reduce anthropogenic noise and the potential impacts of noise pollution via cascading effects. According to the report, as human development expands, the protected areas (PAs) which cover more than 13% of the world’s total land area are under threat (1). The report goes on to quantify noise pollution caused by anthropogenic factors and to analyze the relationship between sound measurements at 492 sites and geospatial feature (2). In conclusion, it proposes the “conspicuous missed opportunity” to include more policies for the monitoring and management of anthropogenic noise in PA legislation as a way out.

    What will the policies be? I believe other than the available techniques to manage noise pollution (3), noise management could be achieved through a win-win proposition -- why not immigrate the mute inhabitants to dwell near the protected areas as long as people’s safety is assured? why not make the surroundings of PA a dwelling place for the mute inhabitants and endow them with their reasonable civil rights to build and contribute to a world of tranquility? In this way, the PAs and their surroundings are protected so that to improve the ecological resilience becomes possible. Furthermore, the mute inhabitants who are usually regarded as the weak citizens are also protected by the relatively tranquil com...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Infrasound monitoring is needed for investigating noise pollution

    The paper has investigated noise pollution in US protected areas (1). The monitored noise frequency is from 20 to 20000Hz. The recent study shows that infrasound (less than 20Hz) health effects should be considered (2,3). In other words, less than 20Hz noise monitoring is needed. Strong infrasound disturbs sleep and impairs health at distances (3). There are two types of acoustic signals: normal sound signals and strained sound signals. The normal sound signal decrease in loudness over distance follows the 6 dB per doubling of distance rule. The strained sound signal decrease in loudness over distance follows 3 dB per doubling of distance rule (4,5) or less than 3 dB due to the use of a resonator (6). During the nighttime, with a distinct inversion layer and a helicopter below it, there will be a case of cylindrical propagation with only a 3 dB loss at doubled distance from the source (4). The bladder grasshopper achieves hearing distances between 1.5 and 2 km at night (6). Cook has shown how unimportant molecular attenuation is to infrasonic propagation ( 5x10^-8 dB per km) (7). Since infrasound below 1Hz is virtually unattenuated by atmospheric absorption, it is detectable at distances of thousands of kilometers from the source. Infrasound monitoring is needed for protecting human and animal health.

    1. Rachel T. Buxton, et al., "Noise pollution is pervasive in U.S. protected areas," Science 356, 531-533 (2017)
    2. Christ...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.

Stay Connected to Science