Noise Pollution

Securing Our Neighbourhoods from Noise Pollution

Noise pollution can be defined as unwanted or disturbing sound that affects the health and well being of a person.

According to the World Health Organization exposure for more than 8 hours to constant noise beyond 85 dB may be hazardous. Also, if one work for 8 hours daily in close proximity to a busy road or highway, they are very likely be exposed to traffic noise pollution around 85dB.

One of the challenges facing Nairobi City residents and most of the cities or big towns is noise pollution. Recently, the newest Kileleshwa Member of County Assembly Robert Alai started a campaign dubbed #PunguzaSound.  Being a renowned blogger and now a legislator, Alai rallied Nairobi residents to get rid of noisy night clubs within residential areas. In a letter to the Director, Nairobi Liquor Licensing Department, the MCA accused the entertainment spots of disrupting peace and tranquility in the neighborhood. His efforts bore some fruits as the board revoked operating licenses of some of the entities.

“People are losing their sanity and even developing physical disability because of the noise and vibration pollution.”

Recently, while using a matatu, an elderly woman implored a matatu conductor to reduce the volume of the loud music his matatu was playing. The conductor declined and rudely told her to buy her own car where she could do as pleases. It was a very awkward situation. When we joined the old woman to ask the conductor to reduce the volume, he told us that we alight as well and get another matatu. The issue isn’t the conductor being rude but his ignorance to the effects of loud and noisy music to his health. Considering he’s in the same matatu almost 10 hours a day, every day of his life.

According Environmental Pollution Center, noise pollution is so omnipresent in today’s society that we often fail to even notice it anymore. This include:

  • Street traffic sounds from cars, buses, pedestrians, ambulances etc.
  • Construction sounds like drilling or other heavy machinery in operation
  • Airports, with constant elevated sounds from air traffic, i.e. planes taking off or landing
  • Workplace sounds, often common in open-space offices
  • Constant loud music in or near commercial venues
  • Industrial sounds like fans, generators, compressor, mills
  • Train stations traffic
  • Household sounds, from the television set to music playing on the stereo or computer, vacuum cleaners, fans and coolers, washing machines, dishwashers, lawnmowers etc.
  • Events involving fireworks, firecrackers, loudspeakers etc.

Night clubs located in some of Nairobi’s neighbourhoods play very loud music thus being a nuisance to residential areas affecting school going children and other members of the public.

Due to corruption most of these outlets continue to act with impunity and not to follow the rules and regulation that governs the running of the joints since they can bribe the police so that they continue with their work undisrupted.

Section 20 of the Constitution Act States: “ A person shall not in any street or in any shop, business premises or any other place adjoining any street to which the public are admitted, play, operate, cause or allow to be played or operated, any musical instrument, wireless, gramophone, amplifier or similar instrument thereby making, causing or authorizing noise to be made which is loud and continuous, or repeated as to constitute a nuisance to the occupants or dwellers of any premises in the neighborhood or to passersby on the street.”

The law further states that one has a right to a quiet environment at all times.

Can we normalize having fun without disturbing other people’s peace?

By Linda Nifa