Noise pollution safety practices among exposed population in the bus termini of Nairobi city county, Kenya
Nyaranga Kogutu Caleb, Amulla Walter Ogutu, Kwasira Tabitha
Background: Noise pollution remains a public health challenge in African cities. High levels of noise in urban centers are associated with traffic and occur in and around bus termini. Exposure to such elevated noise levels could result in myriad health problems including hearing loss, annoyance and sleep disturbances among other auditory and non-auditory effects. Although levels of noise in urban centers are considerably documented, little is extant about community coping mechanisms.Purpose: The purpose of the study was to establish the safety practices against noise pollution among exposed population in the termini in Nairobi City County, Kenya.Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study targeting the population operating daily in gazetted bus termini within Nairobi central business district. A sample size of 422 participants determined by Fishers et al (1983) formula was randomly drawn from the population working within nine (9) bus termini for more than 8 hours a day. A self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data on the safety practices adopted by respondents. Univariate Chi-square test of independence was used to compare respondents’ demographic characteristics and coping mechanisms.Results: A total of 397 respondents completed the survey (response rate = 94.08%). Majority (67.5%) of the respondents were male. More than half (53.9%) had tertiary education and 52% were matatu operators. The study respondents reported using a number of safety measures to reduce the harmful effect of noise exposure including use of PPE (53%), reducing engine power (70%), staying away from noisy places (54%) and closing windows and doors (66%). Conclusion: Although respondents reported a number of coping mechanisms the measures are insufficient to protect exposed populations against the effects of environmental noise. Policy-level and community-wide interventions are required not only to enable communities cope with noise pollution but more essentially to reduce generation of noise in bus termini.