Margaret Chin to introduce noise pollution data collection bill

If you ever wondered if your block is the noisiest place in the city, a law being proposed in the City Council would let you know if you’re right.

Councilwoman Margaret Chin will introduce a bill Thursday that would require the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to install noise level detectors in areas to collect data on noise pollution. “It’s really important for people to have a better idea of the noise in the city,” she said.

Although 311 collects complaints about loud noises, there is no accurate database for loud noises since most New Yorkers don’t report them. However, noise pollution can cause serious long-term health problems including lack of sleep and hearing loss, according to the councilwoman.

The health department released a study in the spring that found four out of 10 New Yorkers had their activities disrupted by loud noise. The devices, which can be as small enough to fit in a palm, would be installed at intersections and check to see if sound levels go above 65 decibels. The DEP would then issue a report to the mayor and council annually that would show the average noise levels within each community board.

“We’re asking for it at the neighborhood level,” she said. Chin said the department and council would determine which neighborhoods get the detectors but she had some suggestions including Canal Street near the Holland Tunnel and other streets near the Financial District.

“There are so many construction sites going on there and they cause so many headaches,” she said.

Chin said she expects to get support from her colleagues in the Council.

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