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Noise Pollution High on Agenda

Shanghai residents along the Outer Ring Road will soon be enjoying some high-cost and long-overdue silence.

The Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau will allocate 160 million yuan (US$21 million) to install sound barriers.

Installation will cover part of the ring road areas where residential buildings are less than 100 meters away. These buildings were standing before the road was constructed.

The bureau will place a set of tall plastic, wooden or concrete facilities between the ring road and the residential buildings to muffle the sound of passing vehicles.

"The project is being carried out in response to urgent, grassroots calls and it will be handled carefully to ensure its effectiveness," said Cao Jinxi, vice director of the city government's general office, which is overseeing the operation.

In March, Wang Chongbin, a Shanghai People's Congress deputy, put forward a proposal requesting that the city government install sound barriers in the Xinmei Residential Area near the Xinzhuang Overpass, part of the Outer Ring Road in Minhang District.

Some Xinmei buildings are only 30 meters away from the busy road.

That has made residents nearby suffer from a sound environment of 65 to 80 decibels, compared with the national standard of 50 decibels.

Construction of the barriers has already started and, if successful, more may follow.

(Shanghai Daily July 2, 2007)

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