Our 🆕 #Frontiers2022 report highlights emerging issues for people and for planet.
— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) February 17, 2022
Noise, Blazes and Mismatches: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern, the sixth report, draws attention to emerging environmental concerns with the potential to wreak regional or global havoc, if not addressed early.
Disrupting natural life cycles
The latest report, released days before the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) resumes, spotlights growing public health threats that are disrupting natural life cycles and having profound ecological consequences worldwide.
“Urban noise pollution, wildfires and phenological shifts – the three topics of this Frontiers Report – are issues that highlight the urgent need to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss,” said Ms. Andersen.
Noise pollution: A raucous killer
Unwanted, prolonged and high-level sounds from road traffic, railways, or leisure activities, impair human health and well-being, according to the report.
Chronic annoyance and sleep disturbance caused by traffic can result in severe heart diseases and metabolic disorders with the very young, and mostly affect the elderly and marginalized communities near busy roads.
Noise pollution also threatens animals by altering the communication and behaviour of various species, including birds, insects, and amphibians.
The report encourages urban planners to prioritize noise reduction by investing in urban infrastructure that creates positive soundscapes such as tree belts, green walls, and more green spaces in cities – also offering diverse health benefits.
London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone, Berlin’s new cycle lanes on wide roads, and Egypt’s national plan to combat noise, are positive examples that can be harnessed as the world builds back better from COVID.
Plant and animal rhythms
Phenology is the timing of recurring life cycle stages, driven by environmental forces, and how species interacting within an ecosystem, respond to changing conditions.