Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Noise Pollution

A friend from the states called me on Skype this morning. He asked, “Where are you? I hear dogs barking and horns honking?

Delhi is one loud place. We live in an average neighborhood that is not near a highway, but from sun-up to sun-down we are off the racket-o-meter with NOISE. In the early morning it’s hawkers pushing their carts selling fruit, vegetables, brooms, carpets, manure and potted plants. Along with them are guys who ride up and down the lane on bicycles yelling out their services as plumbers, electricians, shoe repairman and carpenters. The streets are narrow and the voices of those yelling bounce off the three story concrete buildings.

While all this is going on, there is the traffic. The auto-rickshaws are not much more than lawn mower engines, so you can imagine what they sound like going up and down the neighborhood. There is the occasional truck, motorcycles, cars, all with their hands firmly on the horn if not the steering wheel. About every-other-day air traffic control diverts incoming flight over our house and as they make their approach we can read the fine print on the belly of the plane.

Did you know that the word noise comes from the Latin word nausea? I looked up noise pollution and found that it has an effect on the health and behavior of people causing a rise in blood pressure as well as vasoconstriction leading to the increase of coronary artery disease. There are also potential adverse effects on sexual desire and performance. Yep, noise pollution is a serious matter.

My friend Lloyd Kwast use to pray, “Lord, today we will hear a thousand voices...may we hear yours.” Yes, Lord, I want to hear your voice over the noise clutter of the city, but if you won’t do talk to me, would you at least grant me a half hour of quiet for a nap?