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Govt wages war against noise, air pollution

 Noise pollutants

Noise pollutants

Residents seek better environment protection policy

THE recent raid by Lagos State’s Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) on facilities, which contravened the state’s law against pollution, has re- awakened calls for more vibrant environmental protection policy to protect the teeming populace.

In a recent raid carried out by officials of LASEPA, no fewer than 30 facilities were shut by the agency in areas, which include Ketu, Ikorodu, Ibeju-Lekki, Victoria Island and Surulere.

The affected facilities, which were alleged to have constituted air and noise pollution, include hotels, mosques and churches.

Those affected were, Olorunkemi Mosque, Ketu, the Rain of Power and Miracles Ministry Church, Lekki; Christ Apostolic Church, Lekki; Duckland Hotels and Suites, Ikorodu; Mela Rossa Club, Victoria Island and Hardley

Apartments, Victoria Island, a hotel owned by former Super Eagles player, Kanu Nwankwo.

LASEPA officials said the places were sealed off for allegedly not complying fully with the agency’s instruction.

According to LASEPA’s Director of Enforcement, Kayode Bello, some of the hotels sealed had generators with large exhaust pipes giving off thick and injurious emissions.

“Even the sound of the generators are more than 45 decibels at night.” He noted.

Speaking on the raid, the General Manager of LASEPA, Rasheed Shabi said: “The environment belongs to every one of us. Lagosians need to live in peace.

“LASEPA, in the last two to three years, has been conducting surveys on religious houses and our findings revealed that 95 per cent of them do not have approval to operate in Lagos.

“Most houses and club houses do not have fiscal planning approval. Before you can build any hotel anywhere in the world, there must be an environmental impact assessment.

“There are people using trucks to sell their products with speakers to disturb the peace of Lagosians. Soon, we will tow as many trucks as possible to get them off the streets.”

Owners of the sealed facilities, Shabi said, would sign an undertaking that they would comply with instructions meant to clean up the environment, adding that:

“The enforcement unit will go round and if anybody breaks the seal, he has violated the Lagos State law, then we will involve the Ministry of Justice.”

Before the raid, residents of the state have variously complained about the impact of noise pollution from places of worship, commercial bus drivers, and those who use loud speakers in the sales of their commodities.

There had been call for an enforcement of Section 9 (a) of the state Environmental Protection Agency Law, 1996, which is aimed at controlling noise pollution in a cosmopolitan state like Lagos with over 15 million residents.

A resident at Festac town, Mazi Nnamdi Umeh, said the policy should include taming families who play high musical tones in their homes as well as those who engage in mid night prayers.
According to him, if the recent survey carried out by an international organization is anything to go by, then the government should come out with policy to save her citizens.

Recently, the State House of Assembly, in a bid to curb the rising trend of noise pollution, called on the state Ministry of Information and Strategy to begin an enlightenment campaign to sensitise the public on the danger that noise pollution poses to health and the need to stem its surging tide.

The House also resolved to call on the state Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture to ensure that the use of public address systems are discouraged in residential areas so as not to disturb people.
The House decision came after a motion titled: “Need for Regulation of Noise Pollution in Lagos State” and raised by All Progressives Congress (APC) member representing Epe Constituency 1, Abiodun Tobun, who lamented the high level of noise pollution arising from the blaring of music by vendors, streets party organisers and outdoor advertisers as well as indiscriminate use of horns by motorists and cyclists on major highways in the states.

He noted the health impact of noise pollution as recently raised by the Nigeria Hearing and Speech Association, (NHSA), saying more Nigerians are now suffering from hearing impairment as a result of noise pollution.

Nsikak Udoh, who lives in Mushin, urged LASEPA to set up a monitoring team to check volume of noise and the kind of noisy prayers that some families in the sate engage in.

According to him, his neighbour, a family of nine, always disturb his sleep every morning with loud prayers and songs.

“There is a woman among them that normally puts on her megaphone shouting “fall and die!” repeatedly.

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