Noise blights Cypriot cities

NICOSIA (Reuters Life!) – Large portions of the urban population in Cyprus are exposed to excessive levels of traffic-generated noise, experts said yesterday. On an island that shuns public transport, almost two-thirds of inhabitants along the most frequented avenues in the capital Nicosia are exposed to noise levels above 55 decibels. In the port city of Limassol, that figure surges to 87.8 percent, the survey commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment said. «Estimates show that more than 27,000 of Limassol’s inhabitants are affected by noise (exceeding 45 decibels). But in Nicosia, the number of those affected is 36,000,» said Constantinos Vogiatzis of the University of Thessaly in Greece. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider noise an agent for pathological diseases, but it is considered a source of neuro-psychological and cardiological disorders, Vogiatzis said. Noise levels of 30 decibels can disturb sleep, and 35 decibels can disturb classroom communication, according to WHO. Vogiatzis said simple measures, such as reducing speed could cut down the noise. «Decreasing speed limits from 55 kilometers per hour to 50 kmph and banning heavy trucks at night may result in a 25 percent to 40 percent reduction in noise,» he said.