Evaluation of Road Traffic Noise Pollution and Its Effects on Shop Workers in Gaza City

Shadi M. Ishtaiwi
شادي محمد اشتيوي
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Al-Quds University
city is one of the most crowded places on Earth. This rowdiness and the random haphazard urbanization have resulted in many environmental hazards including noise pollution. Therefore, this study has been designed to study noise pollution due to vehicular traffic in Gaza city and to determine the awareness level of noise pollution and its effects on shop workers. Traffic noise level was measured at 19 locations (18 in the noisy crowded areas and one in a quiet less crowded area as control location) by using a sound level meter. The continuous equivalent sound level (Leq) was calculated manually in addition to statistical descriptors L10, L50, L90. Also, during the measurement period, the vehicles flow was counted manually. The measurements were taken at rush hours; in the morning at 7:30-8:30, and in the afternoon at 2:00-3:00 all days. Also, a face-to-face questionnaire was used to measure the awareness level of noise pollution and its effects on shop-workers. The response rate was 91.5% (150 out of 164 workers). The results indicate that the noise level exceeded the permissible limits of the WHO standard in the 18 locations of the crowded study area at both times, while that of the 19th location was within the WHO standard, and the results revealed that noise levels are increasing with increased vehicles flow . Also the results shows that shop-workers are aware of the major sources of noise (98% said vehicles movement), but 54 % have misconception about the meaning of noise pollution. About 97.3 % of them reported that noise pollution affects on human health. Also the results illustrated that 29.3% of the shop-workers have hearing impairments, 46% have experienced of sleeping disturbances, and 40% complain of headache during working time. The study concluded that Gaza city has a higher noise levels compared to WHO standard and there is a need to reduce its level to protect people from its effects. Therefore, the study recommends setting national standard, raising population's awareness about noise adverse health effects, and improving traffic management and control with placing large signs banning the use of vehicles horns to avoid above standards noise levels in public places.