H.R. NO.













REQUESTING the State Auditor, in consultation with the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, to conduct a study on the cumulative health effects of persistent urban noise in Honolulu.




     WHEREAS, comprehensive research has shown that there is a direct link between excessive noise and health issues, such as stress-related illnesses, high blood pressure, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity; and


     WHEREAS, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that hearing loss can result from a single loud sound, like firecrackers, near a person's ear, or more often, can result gradually from damage caused by repeated exposure to loud sounds -- the louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for hearing loss to occur and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk for hearing loss; and


     WHEREAS, when noise is considered in its entirety and not solely by individual measurements or considerations, it can have a detrimental cumulative effect; and


     WHEREAS, aggregated unrestrained noises occurring around the clock can significantly affect the quality of life of Honolulu's urban dwellers and detract from a sustainable, livable urban environment; and


     WHEREAS, the residents of urban Honolulu experience noise as part of an increasingly loud urban soundscape; and


     WHEREAS, some of the frequent and pervasive urban noise derived from various sources include:


     (1)  Buses "kneeling" along the Beretania Street, Hotel Street, and King Street routes, which generate a hydraulic noise followed by a beeping noise;

     (2)  The high-pitched and extremely piercing sirens of police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances;


     (3)  The downshifting of fire trucks traveling down Nuuanu Avenue to King Street;


     (4)  Garbage trucks circling through Chinatown and downtown Honolulu with their back-up beepers and rattling large containers beginning at 4:30 a.m. and sometimes as early as 2:30 a.m.;


     (5)  Honking car horns and car alarms at unpredictable times;


     (6)  Tourist trolley bells clanging three to four jingles in a row;


     (7)  Squealing noises that are particularly penetrating and intense from poorly maintained brakes of buses, garbage trucks, and tourist trolleys;


     (8)  Loud motorcycle engines that can also trigger more noise by setting off car alarms;


     (9)  Mopeds without mufflers or with modified mufflers; and


    (10)  Back-up beepers on various vehicles that can be heard from blocks away, which are especially noticeable at night and in the early morning; and


     WHEREAS, other sources of noise that contribute to the urban cacophony and discord include:


     (1)  Low-frequency repetitive bass music that emanates with occasional spikes in volume from music playing at area venues, especially open-air venues;


     (2)  Smokers congregating outside their favorite bar or restaurant, often continuing until 2:00 a.m. or later;


     (3)  Leaf blowers in the street, in parks, and around residential buildings during and outside legally permitted times;


     (4)  Persons whistling and yelling at each other throughout the night; and


     (5)  Homeless campers creating various noises, including the occasional quarrel or fight; and


     WHEREAS, other more-intermittent noises contribute to additional disruptive noise that intrudes on urban residents throughout the day and night, such as:


     (1)  Power washing of streets and private plazas;


     (2)  Grease trap pumping at some restaurants, starting as early as 6:00 a.m. and utilizing a very loud motor;


     (3)  Street cleaning machines that tend to be operated around 4:30 a.m.;


     (4)  Recycling operations from bars that involve a large dump of glass bottles all at once and sorting of individual bottles, several times a week at unpredictable hours; and


     (5)  Harbor noise, including loud hammering; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that the State Auditor, in consultation with the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is requested to conduct a study on the cumulative health effects of persistent urban noise in Honolulu; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the study include the extent of urban noise, its effect on residents' quality of life, and possible solutions used by other urban environments that may also be effective in Honolulu; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Auditor is requested to submit its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by September 1, 2022; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the State Auditor, Dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Chairperson of the Honolulu City Council, and Chairperson of the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board.









Report Title: 

Urban Noise; State Auditor; John A. Burns School of Medicine; Study