Paris city of light … and noisy city? According to a study conducted by the British financial services comparator « Money », the French capital is the European city where noise pollution is the most important. This ranking, which took into account 23 Western European metropolises, places London just behind Paris, and Rome in third position.
Why is Paris so noisy?
To reach their conclusion, researchers compared numerous factors in the 23 European cities studied, such as the number of people exposed to noise from road or rail traffic, the rate of traffic jams or even population density. By adding all these elements, Paris comes out on top.
For good reason: in the French capital and its suburbs, no less than 5.5 million Ile-de-France residents are exposed to noise from road traffic (cars, two-wheelers, buses, etc.) exceeding 55 decibels. Noise pollution fueled in particular by a high rate of traffic jams in Paris (39%). This means that a rush hour journey takes 39% longer than in so-called normal conditions.
More than 840,000 Parisians are also affected by noise pollution from rail transport, such as trams, metros, RERs or even Transiliens. “The city is a major rail hub and the Paris metro is the second busiest in Europe”, specifies “Money”.
The noise in Paris also comes from the high density of people who mix there. There are more than 26,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. “Paris is of course a major hub where millions of inhabitants live, with cyclists’ bells and crowds in bars and on terraces as its usual”, describes “Money”.
Atmospheric pollution, traffic jams, high cost of living … The sad podiums of Paris
Paris is not only the champion of pollution in Europe. The French capital is also the city in France where air pollution is the most important, according to a study unveiled last July by Utility Binder, an English company specializing in the distribution of energy to individuals. Fortunately, Paris is only 39th in the world for cities where air pollution is the most important, according to this same ranking.
Another podium for Paris: that of traffic jams. According to a ranking published in early December by the Inrix institute, Paris is the second city in the world where there are the most traffic jams on the roads. It arrives just behind London and just in front of Brussels. In this ranking, Lyon comes in 12th place.
Finally, the French capital is also the second most expensive city in the world, according to a ranking established on December 1, 2021 by the British newspaper The Economist. Only Tel Aviv is ahead of Paris.
Noise pollution with harmful health and economic consequences
Like air pollution, noise pollution can also adversely affect people’s health.
As the European Environment Agency (EEA) reminds us, prolonged exposure to environmental noise promotes the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular pathologies, can reduce children’s cognitive functions or even cause serious sleep problems. Thus, “a long-term exposure to noise pollution is suspected of causing 12,000 premature deaths and 48,000 new cases of ischemic heart disease” each year in Europe, estimates the EEA. On European territory, 6.5 million people also suffer from sleep disturbance due to noise, according to the agency.
147 : it is in billions the cost of health effects and the loss of value of housing due to noise pollution, according to the Agency for ecological transition (Ademe)
Sound radars, a way to reduce noise pollution?
In an attempt to fight against noise pollution, sound radars will be installed from Tuesday in Saint-Lambert, in the Yvelines, and in the days that follow in seven other French cities willing to experiment with this device: Paris, Nice, Toulouse, Rueil- Malmaison, Villeneuve-le-Roi, Saint-Forget (Yvelines) and finally Bron, in the Lyon suburbs. With one goal: to capture the sounds coming from the unbridled motorcycles or the faked exhaust that would make too much noise and flash the license plates of their owners.
(The radar) aims to punish ultra-minority behavior of people who voluntarily traffic their motorbike or scooter. This radar will also prevent the fight against noise pollution from weighing on the police.
Jean-Noël Barrot, MoDem deputy at the initiative of this experiment, at the Parisian
Initially, these sound radars will serve above all as a deterrent technique for bikers whose machines make too much noise. But within a few months, the first fines amounting to 135 euros will be awarded to disrespectful drivers. A world first.