Located in the central part of Kowloon, Hong Kong, Mong Kok is described as the busiest district in the modern world (Boland, 2019). Its Chinese name, ‘??’, has the meaning of ‘prosperous corner’ or ‘crowded corner’.The English name remained the same and both names were used as names of the MTR station which was opened in 1979.
In this project, the public noise level was measured quantitatively and discussed in Mong Kok district, the general public opinions on the noise level was collected, many local social media and authorities were referred to and inquired regarding this topic. In the end, all the data we collected was discussed and analysed, and a conclusion concerning the public noise level was drawn. It is noticeable that not every part of the district was taken into consideration because the manpower and the time of the group was in short, but an area in the center of the Mong Kok district was chosen as the representative of the district.
It is found that the government, local media and NGOs are the heroes. The traffic, the pedestrians and the construction noise are the villains while the victims are the local residents and the business sector. Although the government has shelved the Mong Kok Pedestrian Zone, the source of the noise pollution has been shifted from the street performers to the traffic. Therefore, it is suggested that the government can take some action to alleviate the problem.
Noise pollution, negative externality, hero, villians, victims, mean, variances, t-test, p value, Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, personal rights, ANOVA, A larger area was represented by this selected area. Various building types are present in the area, including restaurants and shopping malls (mainly on Nathan Rd.), residential buildings (on Hamilton Str.), small park (on Portland Str.) and retail stores. By designing four intersections of the four streets to be on-field data collecting locations, it was agreed and believed by the group that the data collected from this area could be representing a fair reflection of the general noise level in Mong Kok district.
There were three methods proposed regarding the time spent for data collecting. First, the data is collected evenly from different hours in a day, covering morning (9am), late noon (2pm), evening (7pm) and midnight. Data on different hours are collected and recorded separately. Second, two discontinuous weeks were designed in order to avoid the specialty that one week potentially possesses. The mean value of this two weeks was taken as the final value which was used later in the data analyse and synthese. Third, it was agreed and understood that noise level possesses great instanenity, that it ought to take more than one measure for one data. Therefore, for each measure, 4 repetitive measures were followed after the first one and the mean value among the 5 measures was taken as the actual value of the measure.
Two tools were used for all the measures: Decibel X and Low/High Range Sound Level Meter by EXTECH. Decibel X is a mobile application that turns a mobile phone into a noise level meter with pre-calibrated measurements. The application was rated 4.1 out of 5 in Google Play application stores with 2843 rates and 4.5 out of 5 in Apple Store with 756 rates (value retrieved in May 2020). It was agreed and believed that this application could be trusted and therefore used in the project. The handheld sound level meter was borrowed from the School of Energy and Environment (SEE) department. The meter was manufactured by EXTECH with product code 407732. It was designed that two tools were used for every measure conducted on the field to improve the reliability of the data, and the mean value obtained by these two tools was taken as the final value for one measure.
We conducted a stratified sampling on five types of shops and five shops were interviewed. Three shops were interviewed by phone and 2 shops were interviewed by face-to-face. Originally, we have selected Broadway Cinema as one of the interviewing targets. However, it refused due to the virus problem. We have changed another shop next to the cinema to replace the quota. We have chosen two streets (Nathan Road and Sai Yeung Choi Street) as the target shops (shown in Figure 3.4.1). Noise pollution is one important type of pollution which refers to the propagation of excessive noise, which could bring negative impacts on human or animal life (NPA, 1972). For example, excessive noise level can bring harm to people’s physiological health, including cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, high stress levels, etc.(Sørensen et al., 2018; Rosen & Olin, 1966; WHO, 2018). Moreover, noise pollution will also impact Hong Kong’s economy and the stability of ecosystems of both terrestrial and marine organisms in the long term.
Mong Kok has around 130,000 people packed in one square kilometer(Keegan, 2017), so the negative impact on people’s life and the environment brought by noise pollution is sensitively important in this populated district. With some main roads passing including Nathan Road and Argyle Street, the sound level around busy roads can sometimes be higher than 75 decibels. Therefore, investigating potential traffic noise pollution in Mong Kok district can raise up attention from the public to this pollution, and can also prevent the negative impact subsequently. In this study, we will explore how serious traffic noise is in Mong Kok now, and investigate what are the effects to the stakeholders in the short term/long term. Last, we will evaluate whether the current measures can solve the problems.
The project proposes to collect the noise level quantitatively in Mong Kok district. However, it was practically impossible to collect data covering the entire district. Therefore, a sample area was chosen and the noise level in this area was considered representative and further used in the later analysis and discussion.
The selected area was the area rounded by four main streets in Mong Kok: Nathan Rd., Portland Str., Hamilton Str. and Dundas Str., as indicated in Fig.1. All the interviews are under recordings (The scripts are in Appendix). Here are the questions that we focus on. Those questions are concerning the degree of noise and its disturbance, the source of noise and the effectiveness of the government measures. In Figure 3.1.1, the noise level in the morning is low. Then, in the afternoon at 2pm, the noise is higher. Next, at 7pm in the evening, the noise level reaches the maximum value because it is the time when people return home from work or to have dinner outside. Besides, at 2pm and 7pm, the noise levels have already exceeded the traffic noise planning standard (70 dB) under Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) criteria.
Thus, the government should manage to address the issues. Based on the ANOVA and T-test analysis in Table 3.1.1, the noise level varies significantly with the time of day, as indicated by the extreme low P-value. To further explore the data and calculation in this section, please refer to appendix. In Figure 3.1.2, Friday and Saturday witnessed the maximum noise levels. It is probably because people don’t need to work on the next days, i.e. Saturday and Sunday, so Mongkok, as a shopping and entertainment district, is crowded with people then. Also, traffic flow there is higher during this period. Moreover, Wednesday experienced the lowest value, which may be because after working for consecutive three days, people take a rest at home on Wednesday. From Saturday to Sun, it shows a sharp decline.
The result may suggest that people prefer to stay home on Sunday to prepare for working on the next day, i.e. Monday. Last, by conducting ANOVA and T-test analysis in Table 3.1.2, the p-value for day of week is not small enough, implying that the noise level does not vary significantly with the day of week. As regards the difference between two measuring instruments, the values measured by sound level meter (HPM) are higher than that measured by phone App (DX) generally (Table 3.1.3). Nonetheless, the same trends in the graph of noise level versus time and day are observed regardless of instruments used. Lastly, by calculation of Concordance correlation coefficient (CCC), a strong concordance is observed between measurements from sound level meter and phone app since the coefficient is 0.9926, which is near 1 (Table 3.1.3).
Hence, the two measuring instruments are consistent. Also it suggests that the mobile app can also measure the noise accurately. In the Government perspective, it plays a vital heroic role regarding the noise pollution issue in Mong Kok. Back in May of 2018, it shelved the Mong Kok Pedestrian project, which significantly alleviated the noise pollution in the suffering area. Nonetheless, the noise pollution there is not yet solved, the tremendous level of traffic noise is still a big concern.
In view of the packed traffic and overcrowded people in Mong Kok, it triggered a noise pollution problem, which in turn significantly affected the livelihoods of the neighboring residential areas, and the daily business operations of the retailing units.
To compensate for the traffic noise in Mong Kok ,the Government has already implemented noise barriers in the major roads of Mong Kok. For instance, the road near the East Rail Line, which was recorded at a sound pressure level of 84dB, given that the noise criterion is 70dB only, according to the Environment Protection Department (EPD). Besides, the Highway Department and the EPD have jointly started to re – surface the roads in Mong Kok with low – noise road surfacing materials, aiming to alleviate the noise pollution.
As a result, the Government is a crucial hero which demonstrated significant contributions to combat noise pollution due to traffic in Mong Kok.
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