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18.11.2004 General News

Police up in arms against excessive noise

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Accra, Nov. 18, GNA - The police on Thursday pledged its support to hunt for and ensure the prosecution of individuals and corporate bodies that through their activities made excessive noise that were injurious to human health.

Mr Kofi Boakye, Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, said that the activities of some religious groups, restaurants and drinking bars, block moulders, quarrying and sawmill as well as sirens of hearse among other things posed great nuisance as well as affected the health of residents of the Metropolis.

He was speaking at a day's seminar for students, a cross-section of the public and the Media as part of activities to mark the EPA's 30th anniversary celebrations.

It was on the theme: "Noise Pollution and its Impact on Health." Mr Boakye urged those whose work created so much noise to seek appropriate clearance from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with respect to the approved level of noise pollution in the area before operating.

He reminded the public that the Criminal Code 1960 (Act 29) Section 296 Sub-Section (7) which dealt with noisemaking in settlements was still binding and anybody found flouting it would be made to face the law. Mr Emmanuel Appoh of the EPA said any noise level above 90 decibels might cause damage to the ear either temporarily or permanently and that noise could be a social nuisance because it could hamper communication leading to violence.

He said a survey conducted by the Ghana Health Services revealed that block moulders and wood workers had hearing defects adding that the data gave serious cause for alarm and the need to intensify efforts to curb noise making.

Mr Appoh said most people were even not aware of their hearing status until the situation got worst or irreparable.

He said records indicated that noise pollution was on the ascendancy and attributed it to the proliferation of churches and mosques, improper location of commercial businesses and places of amusement.

Unnecessary tooting of horns and sirens of commercial vehicles and hearse was unacceptable by law and offenders would be prosecuted. Mr Appoh said some arrests had been made by the taskforce set-up by the Agency and the cases were still pending at the courts.

He appealed to the public to report without delay persons who flouted the law for appropriate action to be taken and urged religious organisations as well as entertainment centres to introduce sound proof systems into their buildings, as a means of cutting down on the level of noisemaking.

Dr Moses Amihere, a Clinical Audiologist with the HASS Hearing Centre, said increase in blood pressure, hormonal changes as well as injuries and fatalities had been reported as a result of excessive noise, either from factory machines or activities of other organisations.

He also advised mobile phone users to ensure that they reduced the tone to prevent damage to their ears that could lead to permanent hearing impairment.

"A person with a hearing problem may feel isolated and withdrawn from society, perform poorly academically, thereby hampering his or her contribution to national development," he said.

He, therefore, called for a change in attitude towards noisemaking in the country to ensure a healthy life for all.

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