HCMC one of the loudest places on Earth: UN report

By Minh Nga   April 2, 2022 | 11:30 pm PT
HCMC one of the loudest places on Earth: UN report
A loudspeaker to catch passers-by's attention at a store in HCMC's District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Son Hoa
The southern metropolis of HCMC has been ranked the fourth noisiest city in the world in a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report.

The "Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches" report ranks 61 cities in total: 13 from South Asia, 10 from Europe, 10 from West Asia, 11 from East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, seven from Africa, six from North America and four from Latin America.

The data used for the noise pollution ranking was compiled from various published studies that used different methodologies.

According to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for community noise, the recommended limits are 55 decibels (dB) LAeq for outdoor residential areas, and 70 dB LAeq for traffic and commercial areas.

"LAeq means the equivalent sound level, in dB(A), of a steady sound which, over a specified period and at a specified position, would deliver the same noise energy as the intermittent or time-varying sound which actually occurs," the report explains.

It ranks Dhaka of Bangladesh as the loudest city in the world with a noise level of 119 dB, followed by Moradabad in India with 114dB and Islamabad in Pakistan with 105dB.

Rajashahi, another Bangladeshi city, and Ho Chi Minh City share the fourth position with a noise level of 103dB.

Other cities in the top 10 are Ibadan (Nigeria), Kupondole (Nepal), Algiers (Algeria), Bangkok (Thailand), and New York (U.S.).

The most quiet cities are Irbid (Jordan) with a noise level of 60dB, Madrid (Spain) and Lyon (France) with 69dB.

In HCMC, the report said: "A study that followed cyclists riding over 1,000 km within the city showed that cyclists were exposed to noise levels of over 78 dB, which could damage hearing."

It quoted UNEP executive director Inger Andersen as saying: "High levels of noise impair human health and well-being – by disrupting sleep or drowning out the beneficial and positive acoustic communications of many animal species that live in these areas."

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