Hugo and Hortensia vs Noise Pollution

The macaws of the Public Square of Caguas, Hugo and Hortensia, are in great danger after an invisible but dangerous pollution, noise pollution.

Angélica Sanabria / 16 years / Puerto Rico

The macaws are part of the parrot family and are especially beautiful and colorful. We have an example in the Public Square Santiago R. Palmer in the Municipality of Caguas. In the “Plaza”, Hugo and Hortensia live in a huge cage. Every day people go to observe them and take themselves pictures with the birds. This area is full of activities, and the noise is continuous causing one of the most dangerous environmental pollution of all, noise pollution.

The Law of Crimes Against Public Peace defines noise as all loud, disturbing, intense and frequent sound. This means that without a doubt sound pollution is a strong threat to the life of this pair of macaws. The more days of parties in the Plaza of Caguas the more constant noise in the life of these defenseless birds. These exotic birds where brought with the intention of attracting citizens and tourists and as a beautiful element to decorate. But, did they ever think about all the harm the birds could receive from the location’s conditions?

The gossip of people, passing cars and music at full volume are just some of the causes of so much noise that affect Hugo and Hortensia.
According to wildlife experts, noise may end up altering their behavior. In addition, it can cause physical damage to the auditory structures. The noise also affects their singing as they have to work harder to sing or communicate with other birds.

I asked Marie Sanabria, a teacher of Environmental Sciences at the Ana Roque High School in Humacao, if she believes that the students are aware of the damage caused by noise to animals: ” NO, most people do not know the danger of animals being exposed with so much noise. When I talk to my students about problems like this, they get really surprised. ”

The noise causes fright in the birds, this generates stress ​(making them fly more time than usual) ​and the energy they use for that could be used to feed, rest or other vital activities such as courtship to reproduce. The more vegetation there is, the more sound pollution is damped, but if the green areas are very small is not the wright environment to the macaws establish. According to doctors, noise is not only dangerous to the hearing system of us humans, but also to our cardiovascular health. Noises make us more likely to suffer from heart conditions and even an increased risk of heart attacks. If this is the case with humans, how would this affect animals as small as Hortensia and Hugo?. Acoustic pollution is one of these cases that we believe only affects people, but also has a serious effect on animals.
‘’Noise pollution has a serious impact on fauna and flora. The sound waves emitted by these noises are capable of creating negative effects for nature, causing serious damage. In some cases, it can be lethal for many species, as well as birds’’, said Iris Velazquez, a professor in the Wildlife Management Department at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao.
Without a doubt, Hugo and Hortensia are victims of noise. They face a strong disruption of daily life. The couple of macaws have been looking for a way to survive the noise on their own. These birds have created sounds that seek to surpass the waves emitted by the frequent parties in the Plaza, similar to a moan. That is, their instinct for survival has led them to create new ways of communicating in order to overcome the contamination produced by us.

According to the Environmental Quality Board, sound levels represent a problem of severe environmental pollution. This also indicated that the main roads of the island including Caguas, is where the noise pollution is highest. So the macaws are not only affected on holidays but every day since de Municipality of Caguas is amongst one of the noisiest in the country.

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