Preventing noise pollution: Appreciate the sound of silence

Michael Ferris was convicted over the killing of John O’Mahony

The manslaughter conviction last week of a farmer in Tralee shows how all-pervasive one of the curses of our age — noise pollution — has become.

Michael Ferris was convicted over the killing of John O’Mahony, a tragedy provoked by the constant disruption caused by a crow banger.

Rural communities, especially during annual crop cycles, expect and accept occasional — occasional being the important word in that sentence — interruptions like this but some urban communities seem to have no respite from constant, almost over-whelming and unnecessary noise.

City-based workers can regard buskers whose repertoire is as limited as their vocal range with a particular dread. The peace of suburban communities is shattered by those who choose to express whatever it is they are trying to express by removing noise-limiting baffles from motorbike or cars.

There are few sounds in reality as ill-matched as an approaching roar that seems to predict at least one Panzer division and the arrival of a 12-year-old, granny’s runabout modified and driven by an otherwise inarticulate knucklehead.

This is rich ground for curmudgeonly slating but as our town and cities change, as we live in ever-more intense settings the issue is more pressing. More and more of us live cheek-by-jowl so not only must we respect each other’s physical space but we must also learn to better respect each other’s sound space as well. Turn down the volume.

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