EPA to close down churches operating without licence in Volta Region
THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has threatened to close down churches operating in unauthorised areas and without permit from the agency in the Volta Region.
According to the agency, it only granted permit to churches to operate within specific areas in communities.
The Volta Regional Director of EPA, Hope Smith Lomotey, said churches were also required to renew their permits regularly to enable them to continue with their operations.
He said that measure had become necessary following the growing trend of churches sited in unauthorised places in the region in recent times, causing noise and other forms of nuisance to residents, especially at night.
The director was speaking to the Daily Graphic in Ho after the agency had ended a series of meetings with about 200 church leaders in the region on issues of building permit and noisemaking.
Among those engaged were the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), the Christian Council of Ghana, the National Association of Charismatic Churches and the National Clergy Association Ghana (NACAG).
Mr Allotey said that the discomfort of prolonged noise was a public health issue, for which reason the agency would not look on unconcerned when churches or other groups carried out such lawless acts with impunity.
“The same goes for drinking spot operators,” he added.
The director said apart from hearing impairment, loud noise could also cause high blood pressure, heart diseases, sleep disorders and stress for people within the neighbourhood.
He said the permitted noise level in the day (6a.m.-10p.m.) for residential areas was 55 decibels and 48 decibels during the night.
In one of the meetings in Ho, the Vice-Chairman of the GPCC, Apostle Dr Dela Quampah, urged churches to respect the laws of the land and adhere to building regulations.
He said Christians must be law-abiding at all times and also desist from noisemaking.
Apostle Dr Quampah also expressed misgivings over what he described as noisy public address systems on roofs of some church buildings.
He said such equipment were contributing to noisemaking and must, therefore, be restricted.