Published: Tuesday 31 August 1999

Japan: working towards reducin The Environment Agency Committee in Japan is working towards curbing noise pollution by setting up permissible levels of road noise. If these levels are not adhered to, then governors can impose traffic restrictions.

The committee, a branch of the Central Environment Council, has recommended that the noise level "threshold" at which such action can be triggered should be 10 decibels above the existing recommended standard for areas around the roads. The agency will now seek revisions to the existing ordinance set up by the Prime Minister's Office.

Under the noise pollution control law, governors have the power to demand measures for reducing noise. However, according to the committee, in the past 10 years only 16 such instances have been reported nationwide out of which only in two cases -- in Chiba and Tokyo -- counter-measures, such as reducing speed limits, have been implemented.

With this move, governors will be able to seek counter-measures when noise levels reach 65 decibels in the daytime and 55 decibels at night on single-lane roads, and 70 decibels in daytime and 65 decibels at night on two-lane roads in residential areas. On trunk roads, the threshold has been set at 75 decibels by day and 70 decibels at night.

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