By Humphrey Carter

NEARLY half of the population of Palma is being submitted to illegal levels of noise.
Two alarming reports published yesterday by Palma City Council and the national Statistics Office reveal that the levels of noise, environmental contamination and vandalism, Balearics homes are subjected to is well above the national average while residents in Palma are having to endure levels of noise which break European Union and World Health Organisation levels.

According to a noise map of the Majorcan capital presented yesterday by the city hall, 45.2 percent of Palma residents are subjected to endure noise levels of above 65 decibels, the European Union limit, during the day while, using the World Health Organisation limit of 55 decibels, 85 percent of Palma residents are being forced to suffer from noise contamination.

And, when it comes to trying to get a quiet night's sleep in the city, nearly 40 percent live in areas where noise levels are well above the EU's 55 decibel and the WHO's 45 decibel night time noise limits. The noisiest areas of Palma are the Via Centura, the Paseo Maritimo, the Avenidas, calle Balanguera, Andreu Torrens, Ausias march, Rossello i Caçador and Jaume Blanes, for example and in the majority of these streets, day time noise levels are above 80 decibels a level which, in the case of prolonged suffering damages the hearing.

Legally, 85 decibels is recognised as causing deafness.
The primary cause of the record noise levels is traffic followed by the railway, although the railway only effects one percent of the population in localised areas.

Nautical activity is the third cause followed by the bars and nightclubs - although on the Paseo Maritimo, it is the traffic which is the main source of the noise.

Presenting the noise map, Palma city councillor for the environment and employment, Cristina Cerdo, announced that she has set a deadline of August, 2008, for a plan of action to be ready to be enforced in an attempt to reduce noise pollution levels in the city.


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