Enforce laws on noise pollution

Monday January 13 2020

The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship

The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and the freedom to operate bars and seek entertainment in them. But this should not be done in contravention of the rights of other people. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi  

By Editor

Noise pollution is a festering problem in Kampala City and other urban areas across the country.
The perpetrators include churches, bars, nightclubs and advertisers of music concerts that operate in total violation of the law.

Several Pentecostal churches, nightclubs and bars that have mushroomed in urban areas generate ear-splitting noise. Many of these churches and bars are located in residential areas. The noise they make disrupts people’s sleep at night and also hinders their ability to conduct other activities such as education, engaging in income generating activities, among others.

The National Environment (Noise Standards And Control) Regulations, 2003 defines noise as, “any unwanted and annoying sound that is intrinsically objectionable to human beings or which can have or is likely to have an adverse effect on human health or the environment.”

However, the culprits do not adhere to this and the authorities have done very little to rein them in.

In some cases the culprits get a mere slap on the wrist for disturbing the peace of people and endangering their health.

Urban centres countrywide are crawling with Pentecostal preachers who spend their day screaming ‘in tongues’ and shouting themselves hoarse in prayer, but in the process they infringe on the rights of other people to a noise pollution-free environment.

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Those charged with the mandate of ensuring that noise pollution laws are followed, such as the police and city law enforcement officers, give them free rein to conduct their activities.

As if this is not bad enough, trucks laden with loud speakers are allowed to crisscross urban centres blaring adverts about music shows, among others.

We commend Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for closing two bars in Kololo last year following complaints by residents over noise pollution. However, KCCA should step up its effort to rid the city of noise pollution.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and the freedom to operate bars and seek entertainment in them. But this should not be done in contravention of the rights of other people.

Churches and bars in residential areas should be compelled to install soundproofing. The licences of those who do not comply with noise pollution laws should be revoked.

It is imperative that the authorities enforce noise pollution laws to bring sanity to our urban areas.

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