MaltaToday survey | How often are you affected by noise from…

The results for all activities show a majority indicating a low frequency of bother. However, traffic, construction sites and fireworks stand out with the highest numbers in the high frequency category

Traffic creates the highest frequency of noise bother when compared to other activities
Traffic creates the highest frequency of noise bother when compared to other activities

Noise does not appear to be a major nuisance for people, although traffic, construction sites and fireworks do exhibit a higher frequency of bother than other activities.

This emerges from a survey conducted by MaltaToday that asked people how often they were affected by noise from various activities and outlets.

People were asked to rank the frequency on a scale from one to 10 and responses were grouped into three categories: low, medium and high.

The results for all activities show a majority indicating a low frequency of bother. However, traffic, construction sites and fireworks stand out with the highest numbers in the high frequency category.

And from the numbers it appears that people in the Northern Harbour region are more susceptible than anywhere else to report higher levels of frequency.

Traffic

Traffic is not only a top concern in surveys conducted by MaltaToday but also creates the highest frequency of noise bother when compared to other activities. While a relative majority reported a low level of frequency (46.8%) when asked how often they were affected by traffic noise in their locality, the activity emerged with the highest percentage in the high frequency category (33.2%).

The region reporting the most frequent impact from traffic noise was the Northern Harbour area, where 51.3% of people fell in the high frequency bracket. This may come as no surprise given that Regional Road, a major artery, crosses the region and the high volume of traffic congestion in the Msida, Gżira, Sliema and St Julian’s area. On the opposite end of the scale, people living in the Western and Northern regions fell mostly within the low frequency bracket (62.4% and 58.3% respectively).

The South-Eastern region has the least percentage of people in the high frequency bracket with 18%.

Construction work

Noise from construction sites ranks second after traffic with the highest concentration of people in the high frequency category (29.4%).

This feeling was strongest in the Northern Harbour region, where half of the people fell in the high frequency bracket when asked how often they were affected by noise from construction sites. This was followed by the Northern region, with 30.6% falling in the high frequency bracket. It may not be a surprise that the northern regions exhibit the highest levels of inconvenience with noise from construction sites, given the intensity of development happening in the area. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Gozo is the region with the fewest number of people falling in the high frequency bracket at 5.9%.

Open-air entertainment

Open-air entertainment, especially during the summer months, is a characteristic of the Maltese entertainment scene. But despite the occasional complaints over loud music, a vast majority (82.4%) have reported a low frequency of bother in their locality from such entertainment spots. The significant majority across all regions fell within the low frequency bracket, however, the Western region had more than double the national average of people who indicated a high frequency of noise with 28.1%.

The neighbours

The noisiest neighbours appear to be in the Northern Harbour district, which has the biggest cohort of people falling within the high frequency bracket (10%), followed by the South East (7.9%). But neighbours overall do not appear to be a frequent nuisance when it comes to noise and this is true across all regions.

Bars and clubs

Bars and clubs can be noisy but they appear to rank low on the list of noisy neighbours, according to the survey. A strong 93.6% reported a low level of frequency when asked how often they were affected by noise from closed entertainment outlets. Only 3.8% fell within the high frequency category.

The largest cohort falling within the high frequency bracket were residents of the South East, with 9.3% and the Western region with 6.1%.

It is pertinent to note that data is aggregated on a regional basis and does not distinguish between individual localities like St Julian’s, where a higher concentration of bars exists.

Shops and supermarkets

Just like bars and entertainment outlets, shops and supermarkets appear not to be a noise nuisance most of the time for people. The highest cohort of people in the high frequency category are those in the Northern Harbour region (6.3%), which is understandable given the region is host to major shopping centres like Birkirkara and Sliema.

Fireworks

Fireworks rank third with the highest number of people in the high frequency bracket (23.1%) but for an absolute majority they do not appear to be a noise nuisance most of the time.

The largest group of people in the high frequency bracket are found in the Northern Harbour and Northern regions, with 30.5% an 25.4% respectively.

On the flipside, Gozo exhibits the smallest cohort of people who indicated a high frequency (6.6%) when asked how often fireworks affected them in their locality.

Unlike most other activities, where gender played a minor role in the responses, more women than men fell in the high frequency category – 26.6% versus 19.5%.

There was no marked difference between age groups, with the young and the elderly having the lowest numbers in the high frequency category.

Church bells

Malta is a place of many churches but pealing bells do not appear to be a noise nuisance for 91% of people. When asked how often the noise caused by church bells affected them, only 4.5% reported a high frequency. The highest levels of people in the high frequency category were in the South-Eastern region with 9.9%.

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