Ghanaians whose lives are blighted by noise are being urged to be proactive in dealing with the noise nuisance prevalent in towns and cities across the nation.
The Eco-Conscious Citizens Day Of Action Against Noise Pollution set for Tuesday April 6 2021 is when a concerted effort will be made by concerned citizens, by reporting instances of noise pollution to the local police or municipal assembly, demanding that they act on the complaints as noise pollution contravenes national law and local by-laws, respectively.
“First of all, we want to highlight the fact that noise pollution is a crime, under theCriminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) Section 287a; 296 g-h, and that it also contravenes the metropolitan and municipal assembly by-laws. Secondly, we want concerned citizens to make notes of instances of noise pollution, when, where, and by whom. On 6thApril, concerned citizens should lodge formal complaints with the police and municipal assembly, giving details of any persistent offender,” explains Eco-Conscious Citizens (ECC) co-ordinator Awula Serwah.
“We want those making the complaints to be aware that the law is on their side, and that they should be assertive in making sure that the complaint is officially logged, and they are given a response as to what action will be taken by the police or the municipal assembly’s environmental team. Concerned citizens are welcome to video what they can of their activism and tweet to @EcoConsciousGH hashtagged #EnforceNoiseLaws,” continues the co-ordinator.
“This will help us raise awareness that noise pollution is a crime, and also highlight the response of those mandated to uphold the law. It will provide an opportunity to follow up on cases where necessary, or commend public officers who take seriously the damage noise pollution causes to our physical and mental health.”
At The Eco-Conscious Citizens’ monthly Zoom meeting yesterday, Accra Mayor Hon. Mohammed Adjei Sowah backed the Day Of Action. Another esteemed person who would certainly have backed this initiative is the late diplomat and political pundit H.E Akora KB Asante. We mark today, the day he was born 97 years ago, by referencing one of the articles he wrote in his Daily Graphic Voice From Afar column entitled ‘Is The African Born Noisy?’
We will use excerpts from the article, written exactly 11 years ago in 2009, to point out why an initiative like the Eco-Conscious Citizens Day Of Action Against Noise Pollution is much needed to arrest an age-old problem that is getting increasingly worse.
“I am sure that many find the noise levels in our towns unbearable now and again. But they do not complain because it is not worth the effort. The police and other institutions which should take action often find those who complain ‘troublesome’. They give the impression that noise is part of our way of life.”
By doing nothing, we are part of the situation which allows noise pollution to continue. Part of a concerned, active citizen’s toolkit is the right to complain for the right thing to be done. So, let’s not give our police or municipal assemblies a free pass, for fear that we might be labelled “troublesome”, or for a faith group disturbing the peace calling one a “devil”.
“We have laws and regulations designed to limit noise levels. But those who should enforce these laws appear to believe that these are colonial regulations from which independence should free us.”
The police and municipal assembly environmental department staff are public servants, paid from our taxes and rates, respectively. It is therefore beholden upon us to make sure that they do the work for which they’re paid, which is implementing and enforcing the law.
“And why can we not enforce the law about noise in Ghana? The African is not immune to noise. He or she cannot sleep when it is noisy. The sick find noise disturbing. It is difficult to think or reflect in a noisy atmosphere.”
The harm to our physical and mental wellbeing has been made on several occasions by Ghanaian and foreign experts. The fact that noise pollution, in a way, affects us in a “silent” manner, is no reason for the effects to be brushed aside as not being as important as, say, a case of physical assault.
“We were not born noisy, nor are we unmindful of the rights of others.”
Those that make excessive noise, that’s any noise over and above the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) prescribed noise levels, generally know that they are breaking the law and infringing on the rights of their neighbours to peace and quiet. They however persist by taking advantage of the fact that most Ghanaians do not like to complain, even when they’re hurting or disadvantaged.
“The peace of the vast majority is disturbed because the existing laws are not enforced. The African suffers from – noise just like anybody else. The welfare of the nation demands a stop to indiscipline. We must maintain discipline by enforcing existing laws.”
For those suffering from noise pollution, who are prepared to do something about it, beside bearing it in silence, Eco-Conscious Citizens encourage you to heed President Nana Akufo-Addo’s advice “to be active citizens, not passive citizens”.
Heed the Call Of Action on April 6 by reporting specific instances of noise pollution to either your local police or municipal assembly, and let us know what they intend doing about it by sharing your experience of activism on social media.
Eco-conscious Citizens co-ordinator
For the full ‘Voice from Afar: Is the African born noisy?’ article:
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