Residents staged a slow-drive protest in Sha Tin yesterday, calling on the government to introduce sound barriers on a highway to relieve their stress from noise pollution. The protesters, driving in 10 cars, urged officials to erect barriers at the Sha Tin section of Tai Po Highway to cut down noise pollution caused by traffic. They accused the government of double standards as it had spent $14 million on sound barriers currently being erected at a section of Tolo Highway near the Chinese University, where they say only a few people live nearby. One resident, Mrs Leung, said she had been disturbed by the noise since moving into her flat six years ago: 'When I watch TV, I have to turn up the volume. When I am on the phone, I go to the kitchen.' The Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, which organised the protest, said about 5,000 Sha Tin residents had been living with the noise pollution for more than a decade. District Councillor Pang Cheung-wai said the authorities had repeatedly rejected calls to introduce a $20-million noise-reduction project. Environmental Protection Department figures estimate that about one million people across the SAR are affected by traffic noise levels over the acceptable health limit of 70 decibels. Last year, the department received 348 complaints of excessive traffic noise, almost double the number in 1997. The government is in the process of spending more than $2.3 billion for barriers on 30 stretches of road under a 10-year programme. The first batch includes Cheung Pei Shan Road, Tseung Kwan O Road, Tuen Mun Road and the Tsing Tsuen Bridge.