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The presence of an industrial facility can certainly have consequences for its host community, but too often the benefits of industry and community partnership are overlooked. Industry can often be thought of in negative terms when it interferes with a community’s property values and environment, or the residents’ quality of life, health, and well-being. The addition of an industrial facility can provide a much-needed boost to the local economy and offer a valuable source of jobs. On the other side of the scale, such a facility can also come with the drawbacks of environmental issues.
There are those who argue that these drawbacks cannot be adequately addressed in such a manner as to make an industrial project safe for its host community, however, such arguments tend not to take into account the significant technological strides the industry has seen over the course of its existence. No longer are the environmental drawbacks of industry insurmountable, nor is industry so consumed by the bottom line of capitalist endeavours as to discount the importance of sustainability and social responsibility. The challenge here is to find a balance in which the benefits of industry to its host community are maximized while the drawbacks are minimised or eliminated.
Among the scientific advancements industry has seen in terms of environmental sustainability is in the area of noise pollution. The presence of noise can have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of those exposed to it. This includes the occupational noise the facility’s workers are exposed to, as well as the localised noise exposure of the surrounding environment and its wildlife inhabitants, and of course that of the facility’s neighbours, near or far, who are exposed to the industrial noise as a result of proximity.
Fortunately, noise is an aspect of environmental pollution that can be effectively controlled given the right tools.
Personal safety equipment, such as high noise communication headsets, can provide protection to workers exposed to high levels of noise in the workplace while still allowing for the communication and situational awareness necessary for a safe work environment.
Additionally, acoustically-treated noise suppression equipment can provide far-reaching and effective protection from noise pollution for the surrounding community and environment. The key is to ensure that the equipment used is the most effective and efficient solution for everyone affected by a particular industrial application.
While addressing the problem of noise pollution is an important and helpful direction for promoting industry and community harmony, another area of interest is aesthetics.
Having an industrial eyesore blight an idyllic country landscape isn’t exactly a health concern, but it can still sour the relationship between an industrial facility and its neighbours.
There are many ways of addressing this problem in combination with noise control. An easy solution may simply involve painting the facility’s noise control equipment to blend in unobtrusively with its surroundings, or installing non-acoustically treated buildings for the same aesthetic purpose.
There is also the possibility of utilising landscape-friendly buildings, whether acoustically treated or not. These custom buildings are designed to visually fit into a community without drawing undue attention to the presence of the industrial facility. Many options are available for this purpose, such as facades of ranches, barns, and houses.
Another area of environmental concern that can be addressed simultaneously with noise pollution, is that of emissions control. Catalytic converters are an effective solution for controlling environmentally harmful emissions from the operation of industrial equipment by targeting output of rich-burn and lean-burn engines, as well as stationary diesel engines.
In combination with noise suppression equipment, such as in emissions control exhaust silencers, both noise and emissions can be conveniently addressed with the same piece of equipment.
Industry and community are not incompatible, and existing in a state of discord is not an inevitability. There are many avenues available to ensure that harmony is cultivated and maintained. Many tools of noise control are able to address other environmental concerns in addition to noise pollution, including aesthetics and emissions. Working together in pursuit of Industry-Community Harmony is the only way to ensure maximization of benefits and minimization of drawbacks for both parties.
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