Coping with noise pollution

According to many Singaporean government agencies, mechanisms have already been mapped to plan for, reduce, and monitor the noise levels.


Phase one of the project will gulp $300 million, and it will cover MRT tracks in 16 locations including Marsiling, Admiralty, Sembawang, Ang Mi Kio, Yew Tee, and Pioneer where 10km of noise barriers have been erected.


Earlier this month, the Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced a shift in the completion date of the project from 2019 to 2022 as a result of the decision of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to “review the effectiveness” of the first phase of the project.


When the second phase of the project begins in 2020, work on the installation of noise barriers for the remaining 10km will also begin.


A spokesperson for the LTA opined that the process of installing noise barriers demands a complicated and huge addition to existing railway structures because it also implies that they have to be mindful of railway maintenance works which would require a lot of space before it can be carried out and which may not always be feasible.


Coping with noise pollution.

Clementi, Bukit Timah, and Serangoon rank as one of the noisiest districts of Singapore. For this reason, at Anak Bukit Flyover and part of the West Coast Highway, noise barriers have also been erected at two expressway viaducts in continuation of the attempt to ascertain the efficacy of noise barriers.

Mixed reactions were recorded in the interviews conducted on the residents of these areas over the potency of the barriers.

Tan Liak Eng, a resident of Yew Tee, had high hopes and believed that the source of his nightmares was gone forever when he first saw the barriers installed on the MRT tracks next to his flat in 2015.

Right now, the barriers make no difference to the 61-year-old retail supervisor who has lived in Block 619, Choa Chu Kang North 7, for more than 15 years. He often shakes his head bitterly whenever he sees them. He believes the noise barriers are ineffective in curtailing the noise levels, and he asserts the noise levels are at their worst between 11 pm and 1 am when he should be asleep.

Currently, the LTA is actively searching for solutions that when used on roads, will lower the noise occasioned by the friction between vehicle tyres and road surfaces.

As these noise control measures are undergoing trials, other strategies to limit transport noise have been enforced.

Trains now have wheel noise-dampening devices. Also, the LTA has come down hard on vehicles with unauthorized modifications and that covers vehicles with modified exhausts. 1,161 of such cases occurred in 2016.

Regarding industrial areas and construction sites, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is vigilant in implementing its stated maximum acceptable noise levels.

Furthermore, any construction firm that buys or leases noise control equipment, quieter construction equipment or applies any other revolutionary noise reduction solution will get half the cost or leasing price of such equipment from the $10 million co-funding Quieter Construction Fund provided the construction industry is yet to embrace such solutions fully.


In 2012, the NEA had introduced a no-work directive on Sundays and public holidays. The directive applies to constructive sites situated within 150m noise-sensitive premises such as hospitals and homes.


The NEA spokesperson revealed that since 2012 when the directive took effect, there had been a drop from the about 19,800 all-time high construction noise-related petitions to 10,400 in 2016.


Regarding private residential buildings, HDB flats, and homes, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has stated that such properties must comply with its development control parameters.


The intent of these rules is to curtail the nuisance of noise pollution by prescribing the design and placement of rooftop electric transformers, air-conditioning ledges, and water tanks to mention a few.


The URA has also directed that a “buffer distance” ranging from 7.5m to 30m wide must exist between buildings and the road; in the case of residences near roads and expressways.



You can find out more about the measures taken by both LTA & URA to reduce noise pollution in the neighbourhood via the link below,




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