Mukono Municipality Purchases Sound Level Meters for Noise Control

Written by on June 10, 2022

Erisa Mukasa Nkoyoyo, Mukono Municipal Mayor

Mukono Municipal authorities have purchased sound level meters to limit noise pollution from churches, sound trucks and bars.

According to the World Health Organization, exposure to elevated sound levels or constant noise beyond 85 decibels for more than eight hours may be hazardous for human health. This is the kind of noise that someone may be exposed to if they work near a busy road or highway, where they listen to constant street traffic sounds from cars, buses, and ambulances.

Such sound can also be picked from construction sounds like drilling or other heavy machinery in operation, constant loud music in or near commercial venues, industrial sounds like fans, generators, compressors, mills, and events involving fireworks, firecrackers and loudspeakers, among others.

According to medical experts, such exposure could lead to hypertension arising out of elevated blood levels for a longer period, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, Dementia, and Psychological dysfunctions and can also affect Child development.  It’s against this background that Mukono municipality authorities have invested seven million Shillings to procure two handheld sound level meters to monitor noise levels in the Central and Goma divisions.

The machine comprises a microphone, a preamplifier, a signal processor and a display. The microphone converts the sound signal to an equivalent electrical signal and enables the machines to measure sound at different rates by recording, reporting and also analyzing noise exposure.

Mukono Municipal Mayor Erisa Mukasa Nkoyoyo notes that the sound meters will be used by their environment technical team to mitigate the challenge of noise pollution, especially that generated by churches in residential areas and sound trucks operating close to health facilities. He says that the procurement followed repeated complaints from residents, schools and health facilities about the uncontrolled noise in the municipality.

Nkoyoyo notes that the environment technical team is going to use the National Environment (Noise Standards and Control) Regulations, 2003 to monitor noise levels. The regulations ensure the maintenance of a healthy environment for all people in the country by prescribing the maximum permissible noise levels from a facility or activity to which a person may be exposed.

The standards empower the environmental inspectors at the local council to seize, impound or confiscate any property, tool, machinery or another instrument which causes the emission of noise, if, in his or her opinion the confiscation would cause tranquillity in the area. The owner of the confiscated gadgets commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine, not less than 180,000 Shillings and not more than 18 million shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months, or both.

According to the standards, the maximum permissible noise levels for any building used as a hospital, convalescence home, home for the aged, sanatorium and institutes of higher learning, conference rooms, public library, and environmental or recreational sites do not exceed 45 decibels during the day and 35 decibels during the night.

Mukono municipality has a collection of Churches planted within residential areas. These often conduct overnight and morning prayers, using megaphones facing different directions. But religious leaders have considered the municipal decision as a move to suppress the spread of the gospel.

Farouk Kaziire, a resident at Mukono Central Division says that instead, the municipality should make the nightclubs their primary target before involving places of worship which operate on planned schedules.

Another resident, Beatrice Nassozi wonders why municipal authorities also target the churches whose aim is to emphasize good morals within the communities.

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