NOISE polluters in Dar es Salaam, especially bar and entertainment hall owners, have their days numbered as the regional authorities will soon start cracking them down to face the wrath of the law.
Similarly, local government authority officials who grant trade licenses to bars and recreational halls in areas close to residential areas will not be tolerated anymore and they risk facing disciplinary measures.
Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Amos Makalla, issued such a strong warning over the weekend, while officiating at the opening of a workshop which brought together bar and entertainment hall owners, as well as the region’s government officials from all five municipalities.
The RC spoke strongly against the increasing tendency of loud music that seriously disturbs residents especially at night, to the extent that they hardly afford a sleep.
“You have to know that it is against the law to emit noise pollution to residential areas, which disturbs and affects city dwellers greatly,” he said at the workshop organised by the National Environment Management Council (NEMC).
He warned that those wishing to invest in such businesses must ponder deeply and make the right decision.
He said the government will act strongly by closing down such businesses and revoking the license and where need be it will take more legal actions.
“Residents fail to get enough sleep due to noise pollution. In the long run, some develop depression, blood pressure and other frustrations and the government cannot let it continue uncontrolled,” the RC observed.
According to NEMC excessive sound is one of the environmental pollution recognised under the Environmental Management Act, 2004.
The Environmental Management (Standards for Control of Noise and Vibration Pollution) Regulations, 2015 prescribes the maximum permissible noise level for places of entertainments located within residential areas.
During day time which starts from 6.00 am to 10.00 pm the permissible level of noise is 60 decibels whereas during night time which is from 10.00pm to 6.00am the permissible level of noise is 40 decibels. Emission of sound beyond these prescribed levels requires a permit from the National Environmental Management Council.
A person who emits or causes emission of sound beyond the authorised level for more than two minutes without a permit from NEMC which sound disturbs, annoys or endangers the comfort of others commits an offence.
The offence of causing emission or emitting sound pollution attracts a fine of not less than 2m/- but not exceeding 10m/-.
The law also provides an option of imprisonment. A person aggrieved with the sound pollution may complain to NEMC or environmental inspector or environmental officer in order to issue a compliance order or stop order or improvement notice or complain to the police in order to arrest the offender and charge him.
On the side of houses of worship which conduct overnight services in residential settings, they will face the arm of the law. However, RC Makalla said that they will also conduct special seminars with clerics to address the same soon.
Mr Makalla said that it was not wise to mix religious leaders and bar owners in the same basket due to different dimensions of the functioning. Hence, a special seminar will be conducted for legal measures to subsequently be effected.
On his side, NEMC Director General Dr Samuel Gwamaka said that measures of combating noise pollution in Dar es Salaam Region have hit snags.
“We want to train traders on what noise pollution is and what the law states, then discuss with them so that they can express and air out opinions on what they think can work better,”
Dr Gwamaka called for media outlets to help share information on the rules and importance of averting noise pollution, to help push for the creation of common understanding without affecting business.
He added that NEMC will engage public officials at regional, district, ward, and suburb levels to educate the citizens and enforce the law.