A taskforce of the Volta Regional Directorate of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would in May embark on an operation to enforce standards on noise pollution in accordance with its mandate.
The Directorate has, thus, engaged with operators and owners of pubs, restaurants and night clubs in the Ho Municipality to dialogue with the stakeholders on legal issues, compliance and permit acquisition and renewals.
Mr Hope Smith Lomotey, the Acting Regional Director, said the engagement was to expose them to the nuances of their operations and how to be in business without offending the peace of members of the society.
He noted that informed awareness is a pre-requisite for changing individual behaviour towards the environment and education constitute an essential means of developing that awareness.
The best way to deal with pollution was to prevent it from occurring and where it was not possible, effective control measures must be employed to protect the environment and public health, he said.
“There’s no one size fits all in terms of fees or charges but it comes accordingly with scale and impact and permits are renewed after 18 months period.”
Mr Lomotey said loud noise exposure caused high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, miscarriages, impaired cognitive functions, stress and may affect the circadian rhythm, hence the need for regulation.
Noise pollution makes it difficult for animals to use sound for navigation, find food, mate, and avoid predators, affecting many animals’ ability to survive.
Repeated exposure to noise during critical periods may affect a child’s acquisition of speech, language, and language-related skills.
Mr Lomotey urged the operators to be guided by the Ghana Standards for Health Protection, a requirement for ambient noise control (GS 1222, 2018) with residential decibel pegged at 55 decibels during the day (6am-10pm) and 48 decibels at night (10pm-6am).
Permissible noise level for category B, which includes health and educational facilities, offices and the courts range from 55 to 50 decibels with the category C, tagged as ‘mixed used’ has a range of 60 to 55 decibels, respectively, for day and night.
Noise pollution from pubs and night clubs mostly exceeded 180 decibels according to data, when normal conversation between 50-60 decibels, he said, and appealed to the group to be considerate on noise pollution, especially at night.
He urged the operators to install sound barriers, panels, enclosures on the floor, roof and walls of their premises to control the sound from becoming a nuisance.
Mr Lomotey announced noise level hotspots in the Ho Municipality to include Rabazey Pub, Mirage, Ray Makossa, Depot View, White House, Pizozy, Cruxio, The Geist and Nogora Pub with emerging ones joining the nuisance fray.
He classified noise into temporal and permanent.
The temporal include funerals, festivals, and crusades, while the permanent are excessive noise blurring out of night clubs and pubs, restaurants, mosques and churches.
The group commended the EPA for not choosing arbitrariness but decided to engage them and promised to be law abiding and comply with the provisions governing their work.
They, however, appealed the regulations on festive and holidays should be softened for the group to recoup some investments.
They contended that their businesses only flourish in two out of the seven days of the week and they must stay in business to make profit to pay their taxes.