A healthy soundscape, James says, “is not a wishy-washy amenity. It’s a potential public health factor we need to understand to make sure everyone has the same opportunities.” Smyth offers this advice: “We should think about soundscapes as medicine,” he told me. “It’s like a pill. You can prescribe sounds or a walk in the park in much the way we prescribe exercise. Do it 20 minutes a day as a lifetime approach—or you can do it as an acute stress intervention. When you’re stressed, go to a quiet place.” I’m ready.
We exploit a national database on electric power plants in China and estimate the dispersion from 160 smokestacks. For a smaller sample of power plants, we also calculate the concentration of “secondary particles” (sulfates and nitrates) formed in the atmosphere from SO 2 and NO x . The measured concentration of TSP in any particular location is due to the sum total of these secondary particles and the primary particles emitted from smokestacks. Although it is obvious that different industries produce different levels of emissions per unit of output, it is less obvious that each ton of emissions produces a different level of health damages—reflecting differences in meteorology, smokestack characteristics, proximity to dense populations, and particle size distributions.
Contest Essays for January - 2012