THE PUBLICITY AND HEALTH ACTION IMPERATIVE
Noise is among the commonest environmental exposures that could hold significant consequences for human health, but it appears not to be given much attention as air pollution, chemical pollution or water pollution. Prioritizing the health risk of noise seems not to be part of considerations in policy making in Nigeria. Even though there is research evidence linking noise to certain health conditions such as sleep disturbance, hearing loss, cardiovascular effects, interference with cognitive functions, changes to the body’s chemical balance etc., it is apparently an underestimated threat to public health in Nigeria. Nigerian urban cities are beehive of activities. The presence of active populations, road traffic, markets, entertainment, industry and construction, make Nigerian cities very noisy. Against this backdrop, our study sought to ascertain who among market traders in Nigeria is aware of the health implication of noise pollution; and who necessarily takes health action against the effects of this pollution? The study was designed as a survey. The context was Onitsha commercial city; which is prone to noise. A pre-coded structured interview was used to ascertain who is aware of noise pollution and takes necessary health actions against the effects of noise pollution among a sample of 399 traders drawn from a population of 383,250 traders that are estimated to make up 75% of the population of Onitsha town (511,000). Findings from the study indicate that the respondents are aware of noise pollution but oblivious of the harmful effects to human health. The findings also indicate that about 80% of the respondents did not take health action to mitigate the effects of noise pollution. We therefore recommended that more awareness should be created to educate these traders and the generality of the Nigerian populace on the health implications of noise pollution and the health actions to mitigate it.