Noise Pollution - Sociologists query definition of Environmental Noise
In its feedback to Government on the Noise Action Plan public consultation, the Malta Sociological Association (MSA) asked "whether there are other examples of environmental noise that should be taken into consideration in the Noise Action Plan."
The MSA was reacting to the consultation document which states that it“ is designed to address the management of environmental noise affecting the Malta agglomeration from transport noise including road and air, together with industrial noise as well as Major Roads across the Maltese Islands. Noise as a nuisance and environmental noise pollution are different and are not interchangeable. It is continuous long term exposure to noise that exceeds a limit that harms the environment that is considered as pollution.”
In its submission to Government, the MSA proposed that the entire policy process should employ social impact assessments in an ongoing process. "This should also include an SIA to establish what falls within the remit of ‘Noise Pollution."
The MSA referred to the International Principles for Social Impact Assessment, which defines SIA as being “the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions”.
"An SIA is an interdisciplinary process, and should employ various methods, both quantitative and qualitative. Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises: To the contrary, they should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes," concluded MSA.