China to release first plan to curb noise pollution

China will soon release a plan to control noise pollution over the next three years, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced at a conference on Monday.

Similar action plans have already been released for air, water and soil pollution.

The 2025 Noise Pollution Prevention Action Plan will be the first of its kind in China. 

It will regulate noise from industry, construction, transportation and residential areas. The aim is for 85% of the country’s areas to meet nighttime noise standards by 2025, said Mao Yuru, deputy director of China Environmental Monitoring Station, at the conference. Current compliance stands at 82.9%

Mao also said that noise will be incorporated into the existing pollution permit system, which specifies emissions requirements for individual emitters. The government is also working on how to assess the noise performance of enterprises and institutions, he added. 

Earlier this year, the new Law on Prevention and Control of Environmental Noise (“Noise Law”) came into effect. An update on the 1997 Noise Law, it has broadened the scope of regulations and improved accountability, according to China Environment News.

In many parts of the world, noise pollution is a “top environmental risk to health across all age and social groups and an addition to the public health burden”, stated the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Frontiers 2022 report. Such pollution is also changing the behaviours and communication of wild animals, the report noted.

While the action plan and Noise Law mainly focus on the impact of noise on human beings, the Ministry of Natural Resources has recently issued guidance on monitoring the impact on marine life. 

Read China Dialogue’s recent article on Shanghai’s policy on light pollution, another often overlooked urban pollution.