Sunday, February 17, 2008

A New Approach To Airport Noise Pollution


People all over the world who have the misfortune of living near airports have had to deal with noise pollution for decades. It's a real problem with no easy solution, although some cities have had some success in calming citizens' anger by regularly changing aircraft takeoff and approach patterns.

Now a group of about 100 citizens living near Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, who've been suffering from what they claim are unacceptable noise levels since the facility opened in September 2006, are mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore.

They insist that when the airport was being built, city officials pledged to buy their homes, but have yet to follow through on their promises. So, the citizens are giving the city until the end of the month to pay up; otherwise, they'll disrupt air traffic by launching large helium filled balloons and small homemade rockets into the path of approaching and departing planes.

No, seriously. And according to the Bangkok Post, citizens recently launched about 100 balloons into the sky, causing airport officials to divert incoming aircraft for about two hours. Local law enforcement have sent letters to the citizens warning them not to follow through on their threats, but haven't yet made any arrests for these statements, which could, in some countries, be interpreted as terroristic threats.

Communities from Anchorage to Zanibar that are affected by airport noise are following this story closely, and there's anecdotal evidence that worldwide helium balloon sales have seen a recent spike as a result of the intrigue around this story.

(Actually, helium prices are approaching all times highs not for this reason, but in large part because it's used to cool MRI machines, according to a recent report in Scientific American.)

LINK: Residents Near Bangkok Airport Make A Threat

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