Last week I almost heaved a sigh of relief when the Blantyre City Council (BCC) issued a ban on holding of public ceremonies such as weddings, engagements, bridal showers and public functions of a similar nature in residential areas with immediate effect. This, according to the council, was necessitated as a means to ending noise pollution in the city. Finally— I thought— this may mean an end to the blurring of music systems and croaking voices over microphones by masters/mistress of ceremonies whose loudness knows no weather, occasion, place and time. It almost symbolised an end to the disturbances many households, neighbourhoods and individuals have endured at the mercy of the love birds who erroneously infect their newly found emotions to everybody around them—approvingly or disapprovingly. My thoughts persisted their wandering towards BCC’s actions and then it hit me.
This ban may not be such a saviour after all. It seemed to dwell on holding of functions as the focus to ending the nuisance.
So read its press release: “The Council, therefore, hereby notifies members of the general public and Blantyre residents in particular, that holding of weddings, engagements and bridal showers and other public ceremonies in residential areas is prohibited. The Council is, therefore, hereby banning holding of public ceremonies such as weddings, engagements, bridal showers and other public functions of a similar nature in residential areas with immediate effect.”
The council claims it has made the move to bright peace and sanity to the city which “belongs to all of us. “A lot of residents have complained against the increased noise pollution in our city and it is the mandate of the council to ensure that all the residents live in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
So cute, I reminisced. BCC so cares! No it doesn’t!! Their concerns are a little too late considering the kind of subjection many have endured. I am sure the author(s) of the statement are aware that functions are not the only noise polluters. What about the haphazard sound blasters who choose to settle a score with a neighbour through self righteous beats or simply heightening their level of annoyance and resentment with increased volumes of music systems? What about the pubs, night clubs or shebeens who will play high music to attract their congregants with little regard to the sober souls seeking peace in the privacy of their homes?
Many churches are congregating in residential areas at the full blast of public address systems and instrumental choruses. For sure, they are worshiping God, but it does not take away the fact that they are characteristic of a thorn in the flesh. Must we oblige to spiritual noise to avoid blasphemy? What about the many learning institutions that produce their own kind of noise in spite of their illegality?
Why the discrepancy by BCC? Are function holders worse off than the drunk from a drinking hole within a residential place, passing my a house at 3 am with a mouthful of recollections from his ‘second’ home, blasting one song after the other? Since BCC intends to penalise non-compliance: “If any person fails to comply with this notice —the council may confiscate from him the instruments being used to cause the said noise nuisance and, where the Council does so, it may recover as a civil debt, in any court of competent jurisdiction, from that person or persons, the expenses necessarily incurred by the council in enforcing this Notice. Or he may be prosecuted by the Council.”
There are invalids, scholars, babies, old people and many categories of souls seeking some quite moments not to be hijacked by revelers. I say the law must apply retrospectively. It will serve no purpose to deal with partial causers of noise while letting the rest go scot free. I applaud BCC’s efforts, but a step further will make it worth it’s while.
I love the Health Challenge
I love The Health Challenge column by Lucy Msungeni. It is informative and educative. Please, keep it up.
Robert via email
Abortion law proposal need clarification
I agree with you that the revision of abortion laws needs further scrutiny, in particular the question whether the new laws will arrest back door procurement. You see, the rich are already accessing safe abortion in private hospitals. It is mostly the poor who seek unconventional means to procure an abortion. I wonder how it shall be interpreted to legally terminate a pregnancy one does simply not need.
Mercy from Lilongwe via email