In Barcelona, the effect of noise is further aggravated by high
concentrations of people living together (30,000/km²). The noise pressure comes
from road traffic, air traffic, railways and construction activity
The province of Barcelona is host to some 1,900,000 vehicles, representing a
ratio of 0.4 vehicles per inhabitant.
Tourists frequently stay late into the night playing music in the squares.
the Old Town (Ciutat Vella) is particularly badly affected
• Noise is an intense factor in affecting human health.
Harmful environmental noise is defined as daytime, evening and night-time
noise levels exceeding 65 - 60 - 55 decibels, depending on the source of noise
Over half of Barcelona's population is subjected to noise levels over 65
decibels during the entire day (0800-2200 hours) which explains why locals have
to shout to make themselves heard.
than 55 dB(A)
to 65 dB(A)
than 65 dB(A)
• Traffic and industry
The industries in the Besòs area have largely been replaced by service
companies, producing a marked drop in atmospheric emissions for the whole area
Private traffic is the main producer of pollution in the Barcelona Region.
The number of private vehicles on the road grows every year. Although older
vehicles are being replaced by newer, less polluting ones, the increase in the
number of cars on the road has more than offset cleaner combustion. The building
of ring roads has increased the use of private vehicles.
• Gas-fired heating systems also cause air pollution
• Illegal burning of industrial materials (tyres, for example)
which is currently done almost anywhere in the area.
• The main environmental problems associated with air emissions are harm to
human health, the acidification and eutrophication of water and soils, and
damage to natural ecosystems, buildings and crops.
• Barcelona, summer period: It is estimated that over 66% of the population
are affected by ozone levels in excess of 180ug/m3, and that over 66% of the
population have been exposed to maximum NO2 levels in excess of 200 um/m3. These
figures are above the recommended WHO levels.
• Factory closures
• Soil pollution from toxic waste
• Derelict areas include sites that
have formerly been used as factories, etc., but have been closed down; the areas
remain unused and undeveloped for any other purposes.
• Industrial sites deposit pollutants on the ground they occupy and by
leaks from tanks and underground pipes. The pollution comes to light when
industrial areas are dismantled and given over to other uses, La Llagosta (now
the Olympic Village) and the coastal strip of Sant Adrià and Besòs-Montgat
provide examples of this problem.
• Domestic waste
Street waste storage bins are a characteristic of Barcelona streets. The most
densely populated districts often have refuse spilling from the bins onto the
• This creates offensive odours, is
an eyesore and a health hazard, particularly in the summer heat. Collections are
made at night, creating a great deal of noise.
• Sewer system's capacity can be
surpassed when there is torrential rain
• Causes surface flooding and direct
discharges to the sea via the overflows. Raw sewage is washed onto the beaches