Plan to hush Chongqing by 2010

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-21 06:53

Property developers in Chongqing Municipality will be required to inform buyers how noisy a property is and will not be allowed to design flats with bedrooms facing a road under a 1.3 billion-yuan (US$167-million) plan to bring quiet to this city.

The goal of the five-year Quiet Action is to bring the average amount of noise in the city to under 56 decibels.

"The desirable decibel levels for people are 55 during the daytime and 45 at night," said Huang Yanwen, an official with the Chongqing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

Statistics collected by the bureau show that the average noise level in Chongqing was 55.5 decibels in 2000. That number rose to 56.7 decibels last year. Only 38.6 per cent of the city's main urban areas met the desirable decibel levels last year.

The average noise level is expected to rise to 59 decibels by 2010 if no action is taken, the bureau said.

To avoid this fate, Chongqing initiated the Quiet Action across its 31 districts and counties to ensure that the average noise level stays below 56 decibels, said Cao Guanghui, head of the bureau.

In addition to the regulations facing real estate developers, no school, hospital or residential building will be built within 10 metres of trunk roads or near the airport, where the noise is over 75 decibels. Residential buildings located in areas where the noise level is more than 85 decibels will be demolished under the plan.

Chongqing will install noise-reducing equipment along trunk roads and expressways to reduce disturbances caused by renovation work going on throughout the city.

The plan also forbids the construction of entertainment businesses like karaoke bars near residential quarters and schools.

"I am pleased with the Quiet Action. Because of the deafening sound from a karaoke bar near my home, I have to take sleeping pills at night," said Guo Jingjia, a pensioner in the city.

By 2010, the city is to have 120 quiet residential quarters, where parking lots will be moved underground.

(China Daily 12/21/2006 page3)

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