Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Do you ever feeling a certain buzz in your ears after driving home from work, or after you have come out of a nightclub? Do you ever feel stressed and aggressive although you can’t pinpoint why? Do you have ear damage or stress-related problems? Here is the source: Noise.

My fellow Lebanese, the noise pollution that we endure is an enormous problem. The main sources (though not exclusively!) of this are car-honking, the sound of construction, the use of generators, and the loudness of music in nightclubs. Indeed, the recommended noise levels set by our Ministry of environment range is 45-50 decibels. However, the level of noise in Beirut often reaches 80-90 decibels. To break down the main sources of noise,  car-honking alone raises the level of sound exposure up to 95 decibels.The music in nightclubs can also go up to 95 decibels, if not higher. Construction can raise the sound to 80 decibels.  On a slightly different note, the call to prayer is at 70 decibels.   

Chronic exposure to such loud levels of noise causes ear damage; indeed, long-term exposure to an average of 70 decibels can cause permanent hearing impairment. Nor is this the only health threat. Anxiety-related disorders,  sleep disturbance, reduce sexual performance, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, and aggressive social behavior are all the result of chronic exposure to noise solution. We live this every day.  We often complain about being tired, stressed, and let’s face it, are socially aggressive with each other without even noticing. The detrimental effects of noise are obvious. What do we do about it?

Firstly, we need to reduce how often we honk our horns. We tend to honk reactively when someone cuts us off or drives irresponsibly, yelling in our car and honking at the individual. Instead, we are only increasing our propensity for health problems…let’s stop doing this! Secondly, the law states that construction sites should only be active from 7:00 am-6:00 pm, although this law is not enforced. This law should be enforced, and those who are undergoing construction should both abide by it and use sound protection panels in order to reduce the effects on people around the construction site. In terms of nightclubs, although the Lebanese government did put a limit on how late nightclubs can be open in Gemmayze (1:00 am on weekdays, 2:00 am on weekends) for the sake of residents, it not enforced all over Lebanon. This law in particular should be enforced for the sake of all.

As for the call to prayer; everyone deserves the right to pray freely, and the call to prayer is part of Lebanese culture; no one is asking for this to stop. However, toning down the volume a bit is best for the physical health of all, be they believers or not.

Lebanon, it is time for us to take care of our health, that of our families, and that of the nation. We can do it!!