Let’s tackle the noise menace head on

BY: Doreen Hammond
Doreen Hammond
Doreen Hammond

The last few months have been characterised by happenings most of which have received media interest. Some have been good and others not too good.

I am talking about the burst of the NAM1 Empire, the kidnapping of the three girls in Sekondi -Takoradi, the Ayawaso West-Wuogon by elections and the “mosquitophobia” masked National Security operatives, the invincible bloody-widow-placard-bearing MPs and the shooting at the Kumasi office of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

On the positive side, we witnessed the funeral of the two Yaa Naas and the successful enskinment of a new one. There was also the NDCs successful holding of elections for a flag bearer for next year’s election and the emergence of JDM as a clear winner.

During the period, there was a very significant ruling given at a court in Accra which attracted very little media attention but gave hope that the fight against noise making was not lost.

Two churches, the Haatso branches of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) and the Cross Road Community Church Ministries (CRCCM) were ordered by the Accra High Court to pay damages of GH¢40,000 (GH¢20,000 each) to two residents of the area for excessive noise-making and for being a nuisance.

That was not all. The court further awarded damages of GH¢20,000 in favour of the two residents against the Ga East Municipal Chief Executive.

According to the court, the Ga East Municipal Assembly recklessly disregarded the interest of the two residents and “their rights to quiet enjoyment of their properties”.

I was extremely elated by this ruling because for a long time now, the issue of noise making has been a worry and in spite of the fact that many have complained about it, the situation has persisted.

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This ruling is, therefore, a real deterrent and an indication that noise making is unlawful and unacceptable no matter the reasons, including some quotations some pull out of the holy book to justify it.

In my neighbourhood, there was an operator of a beer bar who would raise the volume of his radio very high from dawn, after playing loud music throughout the night.

No matter how I explained to him that he was being a nuisance and disturbing the peace, he just wouldn’t budge.

The best he did was to turn down the volume for a few minutes and then it would be back to status.

I was extremely surprised when a friend told me that the noise from churches in his neighbourhood was helping to keep away evil spirits!

I got an incline into why noise-making was persisting and the reason why churches and individuals, who use the name of Jesus to cause others sleepless nights, would interpret a call for some peace as persecution!

Second group

There is another group of noise makers who believe that it is only when they blare out music that they can attract customers to their wares.

They include CD sellers. Little wonder that as soon as new businesses such as eateries or salons commence business, the first thing they do is to hire loudspeakers and play very loud music, because to them that is the only way they can attract patronage. Visit our lorry parks and markets and the noise would confound you.

No matter the reasons, nobody has the right to disturb others in the name of worship, business, pleasure or any other and that is why our laws frown on it.

In this noisy environment some have created for all of us, I sometimes wonder when we are able to have the needed silence for some reflection and rejuvenation.

What peace do we have to think? I have read how in quiet moments, some great men and women have been able to invent great things and propounded useful theories for the benefit of mankind. Little wonder scientists love the quiet in their laboratories.

The noisemaking in our society is part of the indiscipline we see in all aspects of our life. The bye-laws against noise making must be respected.

The court ruling is, therefore, a reassurance that the law is on the side of those who would not allow this kind of indiscipline to deprive them of their peace.

It is now obvious that those who make noise thrive in it and that leaves us with no option than to rise up and fight in the law courts as these two heroines of Haatso have done.
The impact of the EPA also needs to be felt in this effort to stop noise pollution.

That is the only way we can reduce the noise making in our environment since education has not helped.

Writer’s E-mail: doreen.hammond @graphic.com.gh/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.