NOISE POLLUTION IN ALBANIA TOWARDS EUROPEAN STANDARDS
Lecturer Stela MECAJ1
Noise pollution is disturbing noise with a harmful impact on the activity of human or animal life. Noise
nuisance is a global p henomenon that generates a sense of resentment associated with any agent or condition that is
recognized or trusted by an individ ual or group of individuals to adversely affect them. The health impacts of
environmental noise a re a growing concern for the general public as well as policymakers in Europe. Unwanted noise
can damage psychological health, can cause hypertension, high levels of stress, hearing loss, sleep disturbances and
other harmful effects. Albania ranks among the countries with the highest acoustic pollution in Europe. Every citizen
has the right to be protected from the harmful effects of environmental noise. The institutional responsibilities for
disciplining noise-generating activities are related to the ministry or authority responsible for licensing. The protection
applies to noise, which exposes people to the en vironment where they live, in residential areas, in pu blic institutions, in
public parks, in nature, in children’s institutions, health ’s institutions, educational, cultural, religious institutions and
others environments similar to them. This paper aims to analyze the legal, administrative and organizational measures
taken to manage environmental noise in Albania, as well as to comply with the requirements of the EU Basic Directive
and other related directives, identifying problems related to this sector. The methods used to carry out this paper are
descriptive, analytical, and comparative.
Keywords: environmental noise, transport, public services sector, public health.
JEL Classification: K32
Environmental noise is defined as “an unwanted and harmful external noise caused by
human activities, including noise emitted by vehicles, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic and
industrial activities to which people are exposed, especially in residential areas, public parks or
other quiet closed areas, in quiet areas, in open areas, near schools, hospitals and other noise-
sensitive areas and buildings”.2 The main sources of environmental noise are: urban traffic,
industry, trade, construction and noise in service buildings, neighbors near home, entertainment
activities.3 Environmental noise has been on the rise and the situation is becoming problematic,
especially at night resulting in rates above the European Union’s allowed.
Albania is ranked 23rd among 98 countries analyzed by Numbeo for noise pollution index.4
In Tirana the capital of Albania, the trend of noise pollution over the last years (2010-2017) results
in significantly higher values, reaching over 70 dB b y day and 63 dB by night. These values are
higher than the rates recommended by the World Health Organization and the European Union at
55 dB as acceptable values for population health.5 Noise peak is reached in the Lapraka area at 73.8
dB during the day, while EU permitted rates should be 55 dB per day. After Tirana, the cities of
Durres, Fier, Shkodra, Vlora, Saranda and Korça are listed. The causes of high levels of
environmental noise are: the large influx of vehicles moving during the day and night making a
major contribution to increasing acoustic pollution; movement of heavy vehicles above 10 tonnes;
significant shortage of temporary or permanent parking spaces; outdated motor condition of
vehicles in circulation etc.6 Enhancing sound pollution is unbearable, because it has negative effects
on health. It also affects future generations and has implications for socio-cultural, physical and
1 Stela Mecaj - Law Department, University “Ismail Qemali” Vlora, Albania, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Raporti “Vlerësimi i prevalencës së çrregullimeve të gjumit dhe bezdisjes së popullatës nga zhurmat e trafikut urban në qytet et
kryesore të Shqipërisë”, pg. iv. Marrë nga adresa http://www.ishp.gov.al/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Raporti-i-vleresimit-te-
crregullimeve-te-gjumit-dhe-bezdisjes-sepopullates-nga-zhurma-e-trafikut-rrugor.pdf. (consulted on 30.07.2019).
3 Ibid., pg. 4-5.
4 Ndotja akustike, Shqipëria e 23-a mes 98 vendeve, një projekt kundër “borive”. Marrë nga adresa: https://www.monitor.al/ndotja-
akustike-shqiperia-e-23-mes-98-vendeve-nje-projekt-kunder-borive/, 06/03/2018. Aksesuar më (consulted on 30.07.2019).
5 Botim periodik i Qendrës Rajonale të Mjedisit (REC) - Shqipëri, Mjedisi Sot, Nr. 155, 2018, pg. 14.
6 Marrë nga adresa: https://www.monitor.al/ne-kryeqytetin-e-zhurmes/. Aksesuar më (consulted on 30.07.2019).