Project seeks to map and reduce ocean noise pollution

In an effort to reduce the undocumented and unlimited rising of oceanic noise pollution, the US government is completing the first phase of a project by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which seeks to document human-made noises in the ocean and transform the results into the world’s first oceanic sound maps.

The first results of the project are publicly available and have shown that the noise levels in the ocean are too high, especially in areas where sea mamals and whales spend most of their time.

The hope is high, that by providing detailed information on the current state of the ecosystem, political actions will follow. As most commercial vessels are registered abroad and the better part of noise pollution is happening in international water, the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations body responsible for improving marine safety and reducing ship pollution, which also has the authority to set acoustic standards, is sought to be the lead change agent in this development.
But even with the preliminary results available, non-binding guidelines are the furthest political measure being discussed on the international level.

In any case, adjusting the shipbuilding to include noise reducing measures, the most feasible method to actively reduce the noise emission of a ship, will have a delayed effect, with ships having lifetime’s of 30 to 50 years.

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By Nikolai Huckle

Nikolai is a BA-student in Individual Studies at the Leuphana University Lueneburg. He did a five months internship at Cultura21 in the framework of the Leuphana PLUS program. Nikolai studiert das Studium Individuale an der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg und absolvierte im Rahmen des Leuphana Plus Programms ein fünfmonatiges Praktikum bei Cultura21.