Noise pollution and how it can indirectly affect the amounts of particulate matter in the environment

Kenneth Bartlett-Preston, Ayesha Iqbal, Supraja Swamy, Don Pham, and Japhinma Power

Human and animal activity that occurs on gravel and dirt roads tends to contribute to high levels of particulate matter in the atmosphere. Birds molt their feathers, automobiles emit unused residues, and humans and animals stir up debris on the ground. Not only do these activities generate particulate matter, but they also generate noise. The aim of our study was to determine if a direct correlation exists between the amount of particulate matter and the noise levels in select areas within the Lake Merritt Park region of downtown Oakland, California. In addition, our research was aimed at determining if the level of noise at various locations conforms to City of Oakland regulations.

Over a four-week period we measured noise levels and particulate matter concentrations at 27 different sites within the Park region. Preliminary results indicate that at a construction site and a residential area near the lake a direct correlation between our two variables existed; high noise level accompanied high particulate matter while low noise level accompanied low particulate matter, respectively. However, at the majority of the areas around the lake either indirect or no correlation was observed. Based on our results thus far, we conclude that noise levels are not indicative of particulate matter levels and that noise levels around Lake Merritt do conform to the city’s regulations.

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