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February 24, 2011


More Noise Pollution Close to Home

by soundlandscapes

A MICROPHONE PLACED ON my apartment balcony reveals much about everyday life in Paris.

Paris – this wonderful city, the city of light, the most visited city in the world, a city full of beautiful secrets and a city drenched in wonderful sounds – but also a city where everyday life goes on relentlessly.

Yesterday morning, in my neck of the woods, the white van men appeared again and my heart sank at the prospect of the day ahead.

A shower, breakfast and then it started – noise, noise, relentless noise.

The white van men were revealed to be tree pruners – pruning the trees in the garden surrounding my apartment building.  A necessary job that needs to be done – but at what cost?

The sound of the pruning was bearable but the sound of the pruned debris disposal was quite a different matter.

The Relentless Noise of Pruned Debris Disposal:

The men had brought a machine that chews tree branches – feeding the pruned branches in at one end and spewing out sawdust at the other. A very efficient machine no doubt but with a noise exhaust level that exceeds that of a Jumbo jet taking off.

My apartment is pretty well soundproofed but that did not stop the noise invasion. The noise invaded my space and it continued relentlessly all morning.

There was a break at lunchtime but then it started again. I was working from home, or at least trying to, but the noise was so pervasive that I gave up and moved off, Hemingway like, to a café close by where I could work in relative peace.

When I came back home the white vans had gone. The trees looked better for their serious haircut – but what price did we pay for this necessary job?

Sound is important to me – and the abuse of sound annoys me. The white van men were just doing their job so I don’t blame them, but the product of their labour was not just more healthy trees, it was to invade the atmosphere with noise pollution in the extreme.

We protest vociferously about whale hunting, fur coats, animal rights, student fees, global warming and a host of other things … but maybe we should make more noise about noise pollution!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 26 2011

    Yes, another machine that helps and hinders. It’d be better if they could do the shredding part of the job at their own headquarters. Further annoying gardening tools are: the Leaf Blower, and Electric Pruner. Still, nice view!

  2. Nov 5 2012

    Great experiment! Around my place it’s leaf blowers. They come right by my window twice a week. Plus a busy street is nearby with constant car noise. The city of London has been tracking and actually mapping the noise pollution in certain areas. Wouldn’t that be nice for house hunting!

    • Nov 6 2012

      We have leaf blowers too! In the autumn they appear here twice a week. I agree that the extent of noise pollution would be a help with house hunting but I somehow doubt that it will catch on.


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