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Noise Pollution in Urban Residential Environments: Evidence from Students’ Hostels in Awka, Nigeria

Nicholas I. OBI*1, Joy Sylvia  C. OBI2, Eziyi O. IBEM1, Dickson M. NWALUSI1, Ogochukwu Francis OKEKE1
* Corresponding author
1 University of Nigeria, Department of Architecture,  Enugu Campus, Enugu State, NIGERIA                             
2 Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Faculty of Education, Awka, Anambra State, NIGERIA Pages: 51-62

Abstract. Noise pollution and its concomitant effects on humans and environment has reached dangerous levels in many urban areas across the world. However, very little is known about the sources and effects of noise pollution within students’ hostels in a developing country like Nigeria. This study investigated urban noise pollution in residential neighbourhoods, using the Nnamdi Azikiwe University students’ off-campus accommodation in Awka, southeast Nigeria as the study area. Data were obtained through measurements of noise levels using sound level meter and by conducting a survey to gather feedback from 260 students in the study area. Descriptive statistics and Chi-Square tests were used to analyse the data; the results revealed mean noise levels of 89.8 dB(A) and 46.9 dB(A) during noisy and quiet periods, respectively. The main sources of noise were portable electricity generators, vehicular traffic and loudspeakers used by students and business operators; they were found to have deleterious effects such as low tolerance, headache, anger, lack of concentration and low productivity on the students. The study concludes by noting that to effectively minimize the effects of noise pollution within urban residential neighbourhoods in the study area and beyond, architects and urban planners should engage in proper land use zoning and the application of sound absorbing materials on walls and locating balconies of residential buildings away from noise sources. In addition, vegetation belts and sound barriers of earth mounds or wood, metal or concrete could also be constructed between the sources of noise and residential buildings, especially in the case of roadside communities.

K e y w o r d s: noise pollution, residential neighbourhoods, students’ hostel, survey, urban areas, Awka, Nigeria