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Opinions of Friday, 15 September 2017

Columnist: Abraham Frank Eshun

Information centres have become agents of noise pollution

The information centers as it is used to called in Ghana are endangering undesirable excessive noises in our communities especially in the market places, residential areas and mostly in the premises of rural communities which distract the peace and freedoms of the citizenry that needs to be checked and regulated.

Noise pollution are the most dangerous pollution of man’s environment which is harmful to body and mind as may be defined as introduction of undesirable sound energy into the environment at levels that can be detrimental to human activities.

Though many Ghanaians may not see such noises especially caused by herbal medicine peddles as detrimental as the contamination of air or water, but it is a pollution problem that categorically affects human health and contributed to a general deterioration of environmental quality.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act of 1994 (Act 940) mandates the EPA to prescribe standards and guidelines relating to noise pollution in the country which permissible ambient noise set for residential areas requires that, noise levels should not be above 55 decibels during the day and 48 at night.

The noise from these information centers are always above this levels that causes sleep disturbances, which according to experts, results in fatigue, psychological and mental disorders.
In other words, it also affects labour productivity because these information centers sometimes start operating as early as 4:00am.

When citizens are still on bed resting to perform well at work the next day with sound minds, these uninvited noises mostly uncomfortably wake them up.
Labour productivity is extremely crucial to national development and whatever that can be done to increase labour productivity should be indispensable to our nation.

Therefore, it will not against the background to evade activities that decrease national productivity like these abuses of information centers.
Likewise, the students who attempted to also learn around these hours; their concentration and focus ability is highly undermined by these excessive noises which is extremely disquieting.
Moreover, this is true as Arthur Schopenhauer stated that “Noise is the most operant of all forms of interruptions. It is not only an interruption, but also a disruption of thought”.

According to Vaibhav Upadhyaya “being in a noisy city is a curse in itself, he also added that noise pollution causes severe diseases like depression, migraine, aggression, hearing loss, sleep disturbance and tinnitus…”
As a Bible believer, I thought the gospel gives life and peace but the way some churches makes noises especially in the night sometime becomes unacceptable; though the Bible said, “blessed are peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”.

Some churches rent these information centers for evangelism sometimes in the midnight which generates anger to the residence to reject the gospel because; it is done on the wrong time.

According to one Mother Teresa, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature such as trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls”.
Nonetheless, noise pollution breeds discontentment and conflicts among people living in specific residential locations in the communities especially in the rural areas.

This is because the information centers have now become private business and besides, one community might have more than necessary.
Agona Abodom, Gomoa Afransi, Abandze and Biriwa for instance are culprit communities’ of these information centers owned by individuals for making advertisements, playing music and promotion of local herbal medicines and other products that are sometimes not even approved by FDA, GSA and other authorities.

Section 114 of the Public Health Act (Act 851) states that “a person shall not advertise a drug, herbal medicinal product, cosmetic, medical device or household chemical substance to the public as a treatment, preventive or cure for a disease, disorder or an abnormal physical state unless the advertisement has been approved by the authorities”

Notwithstanding, research has shown that persistent exposure to noise levels from these information centers and other related sources above 85 decibels over a period of time could eventually damage one’s ear drums.
It means that the louder the sound, the less time required before impairment of this nature occurs in human life in the country.
It also means that due to lawlessness, lack of enforcement on environmental laws, one might not really noticed that he or she had a hearing problem but might just thought that most people in the communities had given up by speaking clearly.

loudspeakers blurring in various communities on way sides, beer bars, funerals are all sources of potential danger to the ear as Milan Kundera stated “People are going deaf because music is played louder and louder, but because they're going deaf, it has to be played louder still”.

In all, as true citizens but not spectators, we should be mindful to determine the requisite noise levels needed at a particular time, for a right programme, for the right purpose, at the right place, to the right people but not to disrupt others.