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12.06.2019 Feature Article

The Indiscipline And Menace Of Noise Pollution

The Indiscipline And Menace Of Noise Pollution
LISTEN JUN 12, 2019

That indiscipline has since long been, and continues to be one of our major problems as a country may be an understatement. It can be felt, seen and experienced everywhere – on our roads, in town, and in recent times, on social media. We can scream and shout till we lose our voice but unless and until something is done about the indiscipline in our society there’s no way we’re going to go anywhere. And as a by-product, we can totally forget the President’s promise (and good intentions for sure) to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. Our people will continue to suffer avoidable deaths and injuries through motor accidents on our roads, unfortunately. This is neither a curse nor a prophesy, but a certainty based on facts.

For now, however, I would like to restrict myself to the menace of noise pollution. Perhaps what makes noise pollution such a serious issue is that the people who create it do not seem to appreciate that their actions and activities disturb other people’s life so much. In fact they seem to think they have the right to do what they’re doing. And who are they? They’re mostly these so-called ‘Men of God’ who pretend to be preaching the Word of God but in actual fact are only interested in soliciting for funds. Some of them have a way of insulting everyone (especially women) who happens to pass where they’re preaching. They will find fault with everybody’s dressing. They will insult politicians, public servants, the police and the military and sometimes use really vulgar language.

In The Bus And Behind Your Office
There is nothing more annoying about these so-called ‘Men of God’ than the impunity which makes them lay claim to having the right to disturb and insult the public as it pleases them. They have arrogated to themselves the right to scream on top of their voices with the aid of distorted sound amplification to rain insults on every passers-by.

There is this so-called preacher who occasionally comes to preach about 100 metres away from my office who, starting with condemnation of his fellow public preachers, pastors, and religious leaders, appears to see everybody in Ghana – right from political and traditional leadership to the ordinary man or woman on the street – as a stupid fool. He would shout, insult and make unbearable noise all day long in a way and manner that would not be acceptable in any civilised society.

But in this country of ours you wonder if there’s any institution in charge of public order. It would appear that everyone can do whatever pleases them and get away with it. Specifically I don’t know if it is none of the duties of the Police to maintain public order because when all this is going on they appear as if they haven’t heard or seen anything. Why can’t noise-makers be called to order in this country? Why should anyone be allowed to set up a noise-making system aimed at audiences who do not appear to be interested in whatever they think they’re doing?

I believe and accept that we live in a free society where people are at liberty to go about their private life and conduct their private business without hindrance from any quarters. But is it also not the case that my freedom ends where somebody else’s freedom starts? Even granting that these so-called ‘Men of God’ are really preaching Christianity are they at liberty to command everybody’s attention when obviously not everybody may be interested in what they may be preaching? In days gone by, and even (with all due respect) in more civilised societies there have been and there are street preachers. But the difference is that they do not use open concert-capacity loudspeakers placed up to 50 metres apart to disturb public peace. I expect any preacher worth his/her worth his salt to understand that the freedom of worship and religion we enjoy in this country does not entitle anyone to attempt to impose his/her beliefs or religion on other people. They may therefore continue to preach in public but without any loud amplification but with the expectation that those who may be interested in listening to them would gather around them and listen while those who are not interested in them may have their peace. Having said this I still reserve my bitter disappointment with the various law enforcement agencies, among them the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). I want to know from them if fighting noise pollution is also not part of their mandate.

The Information Centres
And lest I forget, whose responsibility is it to regulate activities of these so-called ‘Information Centres’? Whatever the case may be I’m not sure they’re licensed to operate as FM Stations or relay stations of existing ones. But some of them, especially in small towns and villages, can be heard in full blast as early as 4.30 a.m. Meanwhile they’ve strategically fixed their loudspeakers higher and above most houses in their vicinity to ensure that they can be heard virtually everywhere, and by so doing making it practically impossible for people to have the freedom of listening to radio stations of their choice. And ironically it is these nuisance noise-makers that you hear some FM stations bragging that they can be heard on 100s of them. It is a crying shame!

Kwame Twumasi-Fofie
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Kwame Twumasi-Fofie
Kwame Twumasi-Fofie, © 2019

The author has 50 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: KwameTwumasiFofie

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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