Thursday, April 16, 2020

A quieter, cleaner Langley City

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the lives of people in Langley City. But even in this crisis, there are silver linings.

I’ve done a lot of walking throughout Langley City over the years, and I’ve noticed some things since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our community is quieter now. I can hear birdsongs when walking from my apartment to the grocery store, I can hear people doing yard work, and I can say hello to someone across the street without yelling.

A normally busy 56th Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

The reason why is because there is less traffic on the roads. It is interesting to hear how one relatively quiet car can drown out the sounds of nature. Diesel pickup trucks are especially loud compared to the now normal level of ambient sound in Langley City.

It is good that our city is quieter now because most people are under a higher level of stress. A reduction in ambient sound is linked to improved cardiovascular health, cognitive functions, sleep, and mental health.

With significantly less traffic on our roads, our air quality has also improved. If you’ve been able to see the mountains more over the last month, this is one of the reasons why.

Fine particulate (PM2.5) matter in Langley City over the last month. Source: Metro Vancouver
Inhalable particulate matter (PM10) in Langley City over the last month. Source: Metro Vancouver

Improved air quality is also linked to improved health outcomes.

If you find yourself outside on a walk (where you are practicing physical distancing) stop for a moment and listen to the sounds of nature in our community, look out to see the mountains in the distance. In this crisis, this gives me solace.

When the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, I hope that the provincial government looks at policies to reduce ambient noise in our communities, and stays the course on reducing motor vehicle emissions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please take note of the diesel pick up trucks that are just personal passenger vehicles. Truly obnoxious.