WHO Europe released a new assessment on the burden of disease from environmental pollution - in particular from noise pollution, which shows that noise especially from road traffic, railways and airports is a critical public health problem: it is the second biggest environmental problem affecting health after air pollution.
The report on the burden of diseases from noise from the WHO Europe shows that over 1 million healthy years of life are lost every year in the western countries of WHO European region, due to traffic-related noise.
In other words, it means that one in three people experiences annoyance during daytime and one in five has difficulties sleeping because of noise from roads, railways and airports.
The WHO EURO concludes that this increases the risk of cardiovascular dieases and high blood pressure.
The report act as a basis to revise the WHO guidelines on noise, which was requested by Member States at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in Parma, Italy in 2010.
It is particularly timely as the European Commission is expected to release a proposal to update the Vehicle Noise Directive 70/157/EEC in June.
In addition, it should be noted that the report concerns mainly the western part of the WHO Euro region.
Reacting to the report in a press release, HEAL - the Health and Environment Alliance, of which EPHA is a member, said "The new figures are worrying but the true impact of noise pollution on health is likely to be much higher”, Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director at Health and Environment Alliance. "Noise pollution is a critical public health problem. We hope that now the EU has the evidence, policy makers will make changes in transport and other legislation that will better protect citizens’ health." Ms. Stauffer added.
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