Sunday, April 15, 2007

Polluting the Commons is Not a Right

The national advocacy group "Noise Pollution Clearinghouse" provides a clear perspective on noise pollution. More is available on the group’s website:

The air into which second-hand noise is emitted and on which it travels is a "commons," a public good. It belongs to no one person or group, but to everyone. People, businesses, and organizations, therefore, do not have unlimited rights to broadcast noise as they please, as if the effects of noise were limited only to their private property. On the contrary, they have an obligation to use the commons in ways that are compatible with or do not detract from other uses.

People, businesses, and organizations that disregard the obligation to not interfere with others' use and enjoyment of the commons by producing noise pollution are, in many ways, acting like a bully in a school yard. Although perhaps unknowingly, they nevertheless disregard the rights of others and claim for themselves rights that are not theirs.

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