Chapel Hill News

April 20, 2014

April 22 is Earth Day, a day to reflect on the wonders of nature and the need to protect the earth. Since the founding of Earth Day in 1970, the United States has greatly reduced air and water pollution. However, during this same period, noise pollution – another major threat to environmental well-being – has increased significantly.

Americans are constantly pounded by excessive noise from loud car stereos, blasting motorcycles, leaf blowers, airplanes, Muzak, barking dogs, car alarms, sports stadiums, nightclubs, car honking, and train horns. Our nation is getting louder all the time, with major consequences for public health. Excessive noise is related to hearing loss, sleep deprivation, aggravated behavior, chronic fatigue, tinnitus and heart problems. The EPA estimates that more than 130 million Americans live in areas with excessive noise levels.

Excessive noise is a violation of a person’s right to the peaceful enjoyment of their own home. It is time for the nation to take action to reduce the scourge of noise. Local governments should pass strong anti-noise ordinances, which the police should strictly enforce. Congress should reestablish the federal noise pollution control office.

I encourage all peace-loving individuals to join Noise Free America (, a national nonprofit organization devoted to noise reduction. Working together, we can create a quieter, more peaceful world.

Ted Rueter
Chapel Hill