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Is noise pollution inevitable? –By CLEMENT OLUWOLE

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Nature has ordained human beings to be noisy.

Imagine a world where everyone is dumb.

In fact, the world has no place for the dumb which is the main reason why a child that refuses to utter any form of noise on delivery is spanked all over the place and turned upside down until he/she lets out a noise or even a whimper.

Any sound would just be okay.

And as we grow older, the level of noise-making also increases correspondingly.

Is it not an irony these days that we complain about noise here, noise there and noise everywhere when you and I were expected to scream our lungs out on taking a dive into this (noisy) world? Well, suddenly noise making (beyond a certain decibel) has become an irritating habit.

Noise making destinations are such places like worship centres, relaxation spots, crusade grounds, stadia, motor parks, markets, party venues, music shops and even za oza room! Two major locations in this country stand out as the noisiest cities: Lagos and Abuja in order of pollution.

During the regime of Barr. Raji Fashola as governor of Lagos, his special adviser on religious matters, Rev.

Sam Ogedengbe, had a huge problem of tackling noise pollutants in the state.

Among the most troublesome sources of noise pollution are worship centres.

Woe betide you if you live close to a (Pentecostal) church or a mosque.

Aside from the early morning calls for prayers spewing from loudspeakers mounted on top of mosque buildings, beginning from 4.30, earth-shaking noise imploding from virtually all new generation churches can set your teeth on edge all night long… from Sunday throughout the week to the next Sunday.

Then, there are the itinerant evangelists who hit the streets as early as 4 a.m., armed to the mouth with speaking trumpets.

And because their sleep has been rudely interrupted, the messages are usually received with a hiss.

On the highways, the cacophony from the motorists blaring their horns in heavy traffi c can drive anyone insane.

Still talking about Lagos! Peopled by party-loving folks, the inhabitants are condemned to hours upon hours of noisiness almost on daily and nightly basis.

Common occasions include weddings, burials, naming ceremonies among others.

When the menace was getting out of hand, the state government created the Lagos State Environment Protection Agency (LASEPA) and saddled it with the responsibility of dealing with issues associated with noise pollution and allied matters relating to the environment.

As part of efforts to fight noise pollution, LASEPA’s General Manager, Mr Adebola Shabi, said that the agency had had to forbid live band music at restaurants, entertainment centres and allied joints in the state.

He said the decision was taken following rising complaints against such spots that they were clear sources of noise pollution.

At some point, the agency had to close down 70 churches, 20 mosques and about 11 hotels, clubhouses and beer parlours with a view to scaling down the level of noise being generated by such centres.

Consequently, the organisation has been able to reduce the noise level to only about 35 per cent, hoping to achieve a target of 70 to 80 per cent.

Its ultimate aim is to achieve a noise-free Lagos by the year 2020.

That is a tall ambition, though.

The noise level in Lagos is currently pegged at 55 decibel during the day in residential areas and only 45 decibel is allowed in such areas at night.

In the industrial areas, 90 decibel noise is allowed during the day while noise rate must not exceed 80 decibel at night in such areas.

However, I didn’t know that Lagosians loved their noisy life until I invited a friend to visit me in Jos in the 80s.

As we drove from the Heipang Airport through Bukuru to Farin Gada where I lived, my guest kept wondering whether the Tin City and its suburbs were recovering from war.

The usual bumper to bumper traffi c was not there on the highways.

We drove almost nonstop and no maddening crowds were on sight.

He had planned to spend one week with me.

For him, Jos was a ghost town.

No parties, noisy parties at that.

On the third day, he told me he had had enough of the dull life.

As a Lagosian, he had been used to boisterous environment.

In Jos, he was like fi sh out of water.

Indeed, when you stay too long in the dark, you will begin to see.

As far as noisy pollution is concerned, Abuja has been Lagosifi ed.

Consequently, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), through its acting Head of Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement, Mrs. Rebecca Mamvem, has been warning churches and mosques in the Federal Capital Territory to abide by the laws against noise pollution to avoid sanction.

She was recently quoted as saying, “We are appealing to religious houses, like mosques and churches in the FCT with speakers outside to please bring those speakers down, because it is noise pollution and is against the law.

” Mamvem pegged the level of noise for residential areas at 45 decibel during night time and 65 decibel in the daytime.

For commercial areas, 70 decibel is permitted during the day, while 50 decibel is for night time.

Since our economy is powered by generators, only those fi tted with sound proof are allowed in the residential areas.

She hit the bull’s eye when she said that in other civilised countries of the world, religious houses are not involved in noise pollution, adding that most of them have sound proof facilities in their buildings.

Mamvem stated that it is not the level of noise that would make God hear the prayers of His people… as though He is a hard hearer! Finally, za oza room has been added as the latest source of noise pollution.

Currently, a Ghanaian lawyer named Maurice Ampaw is spearheading a campaign making any form of noise emanating from za oza room a criminal action that must be punished.

The campaigner recalled an experience he had in Koforidua in the Eastern region of Ghana where he could not get sleep because of the excessive noise being made by a couple sexercising in za oza room of the hotel he lodged in.

The learned man was quoted as saying: “After I had fi nished with the hard day’s work, I checked into my room and this girl and the guy came to town to chill (in the next room).

As I was lying down, before I could realise … their bed was (creaking) and then I woke up and could not sleep again and the girl was running a commentary.

” He confessed that eventually, they put him in the mood but he did not have anybody to bed.

Maurice’s argument can’t be faulted.

Those who cannot help running commentaries should do their sexercise in a sound-proof oza room or have their mouths taped.

It is also advisable that noise regulators should set the level (decibel) that is allowed to emanate from za oza room.



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