Accra, April 14, GNA - Professor Kasim Kasanga, Minister of Environment and Science, on Wednesday called on District Assemblies, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to amend their bye-laws concerning noise making, to include some common sources of noise pollution, to make such offenses punishable by the law.
He said noise, such as the unnecessary tooting of horns, alarms, sound systems, block manufacturing machines and drumming, among others were contrary to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) law on noise making and were punishable under its guidelines.
Prof. Kasanga said this at the premier launch of the EPA's initiated National Noise Awareness Day.
The programme was to educate the public about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health and the quality of life and further sensitise them on their role in ensuring minimum noise pollution in their communities.
The programme under the theme; "Stop Noise, Protect your Hearing, Protect your Health", would be an annual event to ensure discipline among societies and to protect the health of others. Prof. Kasanga said though there had been some forms of enforcement on noise nuisance under MDAs bye-laws over the years, "their qualitative nature often makes the success of prosecution for violations very low and discouraging".
He therefore, stated that a maximum permissible level for noise emission was being considered in a draft National Environmental Quality Standard to facilitate the enforcement of the nuisance legislation in the criminal code and the bye-laws.
The Minister further said a noise compliant hotline and register would soon be installed at the EPA so as to implement a programme for effective referral systems to the MDAs.
"The residential noise abatement measures to reduce noise in sensitive locations such as residences and schools should include noise mounds, noise attenuation walls and quieter road surfacing, he said. Prof. Kasanga stated that lack of background noise data collected both before and after construction of new roads or expansion of existing ones made assessment difficult.
He said a comprehensive road traffic noise data-base of all road traffic noise measurement would be emphasised as part of the environmental impact assessment process to ensure noise impact assessments adequately carried out and addressed in the construction and operational phase.
He cautioned that apart from causing an impairment in the ear, excessive noise was dangerous to human health, and was responsible for some diseases like hypertension, headaches, colds and cardiovascular changes, among others.
He urged the public to act as checks on each other in their communities and report offenders to the EPA for appropriate action. Mr Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director of EPA regretted that noise management had not been given much attention in the country, and urged all stakeholders to "put your hands to the wheel" to ensure peace, discipline and a noise-free environment for proper development.
He noted that the level of noise in Accra was becoming continuously unbearable, because of its heterogeneous nature, with various forms of social, commercial and industrial activities. This Mr Allotey said, had made it difficult to enforce a total ban on noise making and drumming in its traditional settings. He, however, appealed to the public to observe the ban on drumming and noise-making when the ban was placed, to preceed the Ga Homowo festival.
He urged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Authorities to intensify their awareness programmes, enforce bye-law on noise control to help bring some form of calmness into the country.
Alhaji Sidiku Buari, National President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), appealed to drinking bar and night club operators, spinners as well as churches and mosques, to provide sound proof systems to minimise noise making.
He also urged those who play music to advertise productions of members of MUSIGA to act responsibly to ensure that they do not violate the role on noise making specified by the EPA.