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evaluate the coverage of issues relating to noise pollution in Nigerian newspapers.
1.1 Background of the Study
Conserve Energy Future (2018) observed that most people are very used to the sounds they hear every day including the intake of loud music, noise from the television, noise from people talking on their phones, noise during traffic and even noise of pets barking in the middle of the night which have all come together to become a part of the urban culture becoming a disturbance.
Sehgal (2015) defines noise as sound that is excessive and injurious to health. It is that level of noise that is disturbing, irritating and annoying to human beings. Noise has become part of modern life. People are exposed to noise almost everywhere. In Nigeria for instance, it seems that everywhere you go, it is difficult to escape noise. When you are on the road, the sound of moving vehicles and their horns is so devastating; the sounds that one hears in market places, in bus stations, in religious centers, during ceremonies, in parties combine to make it almost impossible for people to escape exposure to noise in modern day Nigeria.
Most people do not seem to know that exposure to noise pollution can be very hazardous to human health. Researchers have observed that noise has a way of affecting the body. Conserve Energy Future (2018) enumerated some effects of noise pollution as follows:
- Hearing problems: Constant exposure to loud levels of noise can easily result to damage of our ear drums.
- Health Issues: Excessive noise pollution in working areas such as offices, construction sites, bars and even in our homes can influence psychological health. It shows that the occurrence of aggressive behavior, disturbance of sleep, constant stress, fatigue and hypertension can be linked to excessive noise levels.
- Sleeping disorders: Loud noise can certainly hamper peoples’ sleeping pattern and may lead to irritation and uncomfortable situations.
- Cardiovascular Issues like blood pressure, stress related heart problems have been linked with exposure to noise pollution.
- Trouble Communicating: High decibel noise can cause communication problems and may not allow people communicate freely/ effectively.
- Effect on Wildlife: Animals develop a better sense of hearing than us since their survival depends on it. So it will be a problem when there is noise since they are more dependent on sound.
In recent times, noise pollution has become more dangerous than other forms of pollution. Oyedepo (2013) emphasized that noise is getting more severe and widespread than ever before, stressing that it will continue to increase in magnitude and severity because of population growth, urbanization and the associated growth in the use of increasingly powerful, varied and highly mobile sources of noise. He also added that it will continue to grow because of sustained growth in highway rail and air traffic which remain major sources of environmental noise.
According to Ocheri (2003) noted that researchers have observed that as the population of a country grows/increases with attendant pressure on the environment especially in the wake of improved technologies; environmental abuse and pollution is heightened with corresponding effects on lives of people and other living organisms. Ocheri tried to explain that this pollution is unavoidable due to certain reasons stated earlier because as long as there are humans in this world, noise will be inevitable.
Noise is on the increase in our society today. People are daily exposed to loud noise for several hours of the day. Most people do not know that noise can be harmful beyond being a nuisance or disturbance. It appears that there is not much information geared towards sensitizing the masses on the dangers of exposure to noise pollution and on how to avoid such exposures. If the masses will be sensitized on any issue of importance, the role of the media cannot be over-emphasized. What the media does not talk about may not be taken seriously by the people. People usually rely heavily on the mass media for information on important issues. Dennis and Meril (1999) explained that media play a crucial role in the socialization and education of members of the society in which it operate. They also explained that the media affect us in many ways including acting as a major socializing influence, a carrier of culture, a source of information, education and so on.
Several contemporary studies in health communication have found that health information in newspapers affects the health behaviors of people, especially newspaper readers. Paul and Singh (2016) stated that newspapers have immense potential for generating health awareness on diverse issues such as environmental pollution. Nnaji (2012) observes that the press being the watchdog of the society is expected to draw attention to environmental issues like environmental pollution. If there are steps to take in order for noise pollution to be eradicated or reduced or to protect human beings from the negative impacts of exposure to noise pollution, the newspaper should be the first step at informing the public on what noise could do.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Exposure to noise pollution is detrimental not only to the individual but to the society as a whole. Yet, noise pollution is on the increase in our modern society. It is a serious threat to our national sanctity and individual health. From the background of the study, it was observed that it has formed the urban culture, Nigerians are used to the noise they hear, not knowing the health implications it has. It is a serious issue that has serious negative implications for human health. If noise pollution is such a serious health issue, it is expected that the media as an educating agent in the society should be able to educate the masses on the effects of noise, they should be at the fore in championing public enlightenment that would mobilize the masses to make efforts that would reduce exposure to noise pollution in the environment. This study seeks to find out if the Nigerian newspapers cover issues relating to noise pollution and also to evaluate the coverage of issues relating to noise pollution in Nigerian newspapers from January 1 to June 30, 2017.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this research work is to examine and evaluate the coverage of danger of noise pollution in the Nigerian newspapers.
The specific objectives include:
- To find out if Nigerian newspapers cover issues relating to noise pollution.
- To ascertain if Nigerian newspapers give adequate coverage to information on noise pollution and its effect on human health.
- To determine the relevance (in terms of placement in pages) that Nigerian newspapers attach to information relating to noise pollution.
- To determine how Nigerian newspapers present coverage (in terms of story types) to information relating to noise pollution.
- To ascertain if stakeholders make use of Nigerian newspapers in campaigns about noise pollution and its effects on human health.
1.4 Research Questions
Some research question which the research work will answer and address in the course of this study.
- Do Nigerian newspapers cover issues relating to noise pollution?
- To what extent do Nigerian newspapers give adequate coverage to information on noise pollution and its effect on human health?
- What relevance (in terms of placement in pages) do Nigerian newspapers attach to information relating to noise pollution?
- How do Nigerian newspapers present coverage of information (in terms of story types) relating to noise pollution?
- To what extent do stakeholders make use of Nigerian newspapers in campaigns about noise pollution and its effects on human health?