Participants call for stringent laws on noise pollution

Mrs. Philomena Boakye Appiah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Thursday, said it was un-Christian for churches to create noise, under the guise of praise and worship during their services.

She said churches and other Christian organisations were doing more harm than good to residents around their locations, because they flouted the law on noise pollution with impunity without regard to its negative effects on the people.

The Regional Director disclosed that noise pollution could cause deafness, blood pressure, indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, heart disease, mental illness, fatigue, damages in the nervous system, increased stress/ irritation, decrease in efficiency at work places, sleep interference, decreased academic performance and indirectly weakens the edifice of buildings and bridges.

Mrs. Appiah, who explained noise pollution as “sound that is incoherent and irregular and produces an unpleasant sensation that is unwanted or that interfere with the ability to hear”, was speaking at a regional media encounter in Sunyani, to mark this year’s national noise awareness day.

The programme, under the theme, “noise, the silent killer- protect your hearing, protect your health”, was aimed at soliciting the support of the media and other stakeholders like the Police, the Ghana Education Service and the National Commission for Civic Education to educate the general public, to ensure noise making was greatly controlled or moderated in the society.

Mrs. Appiah stated that noise emanated from various sources; notable among them were religious, commercial, entertainment and industrial activities, as well as social gatherings (parties and funerals).

She said “noise is big nuisance” and had emerged over the last few years as a big environmental problem that posed an equally big challenge in dealing with and admitted that “no one institution can do it all”.

The Regional Director noted that the media provided the largest platform for the dissemination of information and creation of awareness, explaining that it had the advantage of reaching the people in the comfort of their homes, offices, markets and in vehicles, among others.

Mrs. Appiah said to know the implications of one’s activities and make informed decisions; the relevant information should be put out appropriately, and appealed to the media, especially the community radio stations and information centres in the region, to collaborate with the agency to stem the tide of noise pollution.

She appealed to the Sunyani Municipal Assembly to make its proposed noise abatement task force functional so that the requisite information could reach every corner of the municipality.

Mrs. Appiah emphasised that noise pollution was an offence punishable by law and therefore urged that all the other assemblies should be encouraged to set up similar functional task forces.

She said it was unlawful for FM radio stations to be hooked unto community information centres, saying the trend was making the community information centres to deviate from their core mandate of educating and informing people in their catchment areas on basic issues of national importance.

During questions and discussion, it was realized that, there were inadequate laws and by-laws on noise pollution in the country; hence the EPA alone could not provide solutions to the problem.

Participants called on the agency to initiate a move for policy makers as well as appropriate bodies and organisations, like Parliament and the district assemblies, to come out with adequate legislation and by-laws to deal with the problem.

Personnel from the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Heath Service and the Attorney-General’s department also made presentations on “The impact of noise on health” and “Noise and the law” respectively.

Source: GNA

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