Newswise – Noise is an invisible pollutant that has a very real impact on health. Like many other forms of pollution, it affects some people more than others because of systemic injustice. It also affects wildlife.
in research published Nature ecology and evolutionAcoustic ecologists at Colorado State University found that redlined, or marginalized, communities have more and more intense urban noise, which has been linked to negative outcomes for people and wildlife.
Ecological degradation exacerbates injustices against people living in formerly red zones as people take advantage of nature and wildlife, said Sarah Bombacci, study author and assistant professor in CSU's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Now illegal, redlining was the discriminatory practice of denying loans or services to residents of non-white neighborhoods.
“We need to think more about how these systemic injustices and problems shape ecology and evolution,” Bombacci said.
Bombacci and his research team examined the distribution of urban noise in historic racial sections of 83 US cities and evaluated hundreds of studies on the effects of noise on wildlife. The team initially wanted to analyze ecological data on noise impacts on wildlife instead of a literature review, but data is underrepresented in red-lined communities, reflecting historical bias.
The study is the first to examine noise disparities in redline communities. The results show that higher noise levels more often correspond to red-lined urban areas and have detrimental effects on urban ecosystems in proportion to their volume.
Red line noise
Beginning in 1933, the Home Owners Loan Corporation assigned neighborhoods by race and wealth. Class A neighborhoods were wealthier and whiter, while red lines were drawn for Class D neighborhoods, where people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds lived. Redlining was outlawed in 1968, but decades of investment in these neighborhoods have led to persistent inequality.
The study found that Class D areas experience 17% higher noise levels than Class A areas, and Class C and D areas are more likely to have peak noise levels at levels that cause hearing loss, physical pain and stress in people.
“It's directly related to structural racism,” Bombacci said. “There is a clear signal that directly correlates to whether or not these communities were redlined.”
Some of the effects of noise pollution on human health include hearing loss, Stress, insomnia, hypertension and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The constant loud noise stresses the wildlife as well. It can alter animal behavior, including communication, community structure, distribution, fitness, foraging, mating, movement, and reproduction. Noise can make some species more vulnerable to predators and cause wildlife to avoid certain areas.
Correcting past mistakes
Many cities, such as Denver, are working toward equitable planning to improve access to parks and green spaces in underserved communities. According to Bombacci, these plans must take noise into account.
“If we add green space without reducing noise impacts, we may not fully recognize the benefits of these green spaces,” he said.
Wildlife may not return to urban green spaces if noise pollution remains a problem, but planning and noise mitigation can help, Bombacci said, and conservation funding and urban planning can benefit both people and wildlife.
Additional study authors, “Noise inequality will affect urban wildlifeCSU students Jasmin Nelson-Olivier, Tamara Layden, Edder Antunes, Monica Lask, Stephen Starr, and Anahita Verahram, as well as collaborators Ali Khaligifar (CSU), Teresa Laverty (New Mexico State University), Karina Sanchez (University of New Mexico) . Hampshire) and Graeme Shannon (Bangor University).