Bars and churches targeted in clampdown on noise pollution. Councillors, Council management and residents’ association representatives met in Masvingo last month and agreed on measures to combat noise pollution in Zimbabwe’s third-largest city.
The City of Gweru has proposed by-laws to tackle noise pollution in residential areas caused by bars and churches, among others, with offenders set to be penalised heavily. The proposed Gweru (Noise) by-laws, 2021, reads in part:
Noise can be defined as unwanted or undesirable sound and can materially affect an individual or a community’s health, well-being and enjoyment of their surroundings.
Suppression of noise, no person shall, operate or cause or permit to be operated any wireless, loudspeaker, gramophone, record player, amplifier, musical instrument or similar device so as to disturb or interfere with the rest, peace and tranquillity of any occupier of premises in the neighbourhood or any in public space;
or make any noise disturbances by shouting, yelling or blowing upon any wind instrument, beating upon any drum or other instrument, article or device or by any other means which the noise or disturbances disturb or interfere with the rest or peace tranquillity of any occupier of premises in the neighbourhood or in any public space or public street.
The local authority also resolved that no person shall keep, or cause or permit to be kept, any bird or animal which, by reason of continued or repeated crowing, screeching, barking or whining or other noisy or troublesome habits, causes annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience to any occupier of premises in the neighbourhood or public place.
However, Council has the prerogative to issue a temporary noise permit. It said: In this section, community events include any word in part, church services, awareness campaigns or any such gathering where people are likely to congregate in large numbers.
A promotional event means any event done at a public place, public street or in the neighbourhood to promote a business or event to a target audience.
Any person may submit an application for a temporary noise permit for a community event or promotional event. The city fathers said bars, churches and event organisers are required to guard against noise pollution by fitting sound-proof equipment or risk paying heavy fines. The proposed by-law reads further:
Churches, bars, and nightclubs must install sound-proof systems or equipment in their buildings so that their noise does not affect the neighbourhood.
An authorised person may impound any equipment, gadget or machinery found in contravention of any provision of these by-laws. The equipment, gadgets or machinery so impounded shall be taken to a secure place designated for such purpose by the council.
The equipment so impounded shall not be released until the owner pays the prescribed penalty and such removal and storage charges as prescribed by the council from time to time.
Gweru City Council communications officer Vimbai Chingwaramusee told Chronicle that the noise by-laws were some of the by-laws council, management and other stakeholders were working on.
Source – Chronicle
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