Noise map studies developed by the Universidad Austral de Chile for the Ministry of the Environment have been included in the System of Indicators and Standards of Quality of Life and Urban Development (SIEDU), a system that aims to identify territorial inequality in the quality of urban life within and between Chilean cities; by measuring those urban attributes related to the quality of urban life.
The contribution of U. Austral studies to this system is to guide efforts to make cities, inclusive places, where people are and feel protected and incorporated into urban benefits.
It is precisely this DATA from SIEDU – obtained from the studies of the U. Austral – that in greater Urban Santiago 32.6% of the population is potentially exposed to unacceptable noise levels during the day – equivalent to 2 million people – and 23.4% of the population, or 1 million,440 thousand people, are exposed to unacceptable noise levels during the night period. While it is a situation that is repeated in large cities in other countries; there is a significant difference from other smaller cities with healthier conditions, such as Valdivia, where only 2.36% of the population is potentially exposed at night to unacceptable noise levels.
This background demonstrates a serious environmental health problem that should be prioritized indicated by U. Austral researcher Enrique Suárez, as «measures must be collaborative and comprehensive, as there is not only a noise control measure that ensures a healthier acoustic environment. The main measures are three: emission standards and environmental quality; information and environmental education: and urban planning that incorporates environmental acoustics into the design and growth of cities.»
In Chile there is a standard for fixed sources of noise such as industries, workshops, nightclubs, construction activities, etc. This standard sets the maximum permissible limits per type of soil use of the receiver or affected by noise. The rule also differentiates day and night schedules and limits. For example, for a residential area, the daytime noise limit is 55 dBA and the night limit is 45 dBA.
There are also Chilean standards that regulate the noise emission of vehicles and buses, however, «there is not yet an acoustic quality standard that regulates noise exposure for all accurate ambient noise sources» Suarez.
«There is a need to develop and implement a quality standard, which, like the air quality standard, protects people from noise levels generated by all sources, especially noise generated by means of transport (vehicle transit). To implement such regulations, previous studies are being conducted through noise maps of major cities, and the implementation of environmental noise monitoring networks,» explained U. Austral environmental pollution expert Regarding city planning, Suarez notes that «two things must be prioritized: the first thing is to ensure minimal construction techniques that protect inhabitants from outside noises , and that neighbouring activities are not hindered by indoor activities. For example, homes and apartments have sufficient sound insulation to ensure, from privacy with neighbors, to sleep care for outside noise. And in the other sense, that activities such as those that take place in schools, churches, restaurants, etc., do not affect the acoustic atmosphere of its neighbors.»
In addition, the U. Austral researcher concluded that another important aspect to prioritize is the acoustic design of cities, «from the location of possible noise sources and sensitive places such as the location of schools, schools, roads and large avenues, to the sound quality of public and common spaces such as squares, parks, green areas Etc. In the latter case, these aspects are fundamental to care for, as public areas play an important role in the cities and health of those who inhabit and frequent them,» concludes the academic.