Pastors reject NEMA’s noise pollution standards

A section of pastors from Entebbe Sub-District have expressed concerns on the Noise Standards and Control Regulations of stipulated in the National Environment Act of 2019. The pastors contend that sections of the noise pollution regulations are “trivial and  incomprehensible.”

The pastors led by Bishop Daniel Wadimba accuse National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for selectively applying the law following arrests of local pastors Edward Mukisa and Herman Ssebunje from Nkumba Miracle Centre over noise pollution.

“If this law is to apply anyway, let it be applied beyond nor again churches, let it tackle bars and elsewhere, the way NEMA is implementing the law shows a different intent.” Wadimba said.

According to the act, places of worship situated in residential areas ought to maintain sound levels of 60 decibels during day and 40 decibels at night. The act also spells out a fine not exceeding fifty thousand currency points, the equivalent of Shillings one billion, or a maximum jail term of 15 years, or both  for noise pollution.

The pastors want the standards reviewed and changed for places of worship to at least 100 decibels during day and 85 decibels at night.

Tony Acidria who is the senior public relations officer at NEMA said that the standards have been in force for almost 20 years and we’re finalized in 2003 after consulting relevant stakeholders.

Tony Acidria, the senior public relations officer at NEMA says that every Ugandan has a right to go to court when aggrieved. He explains that the Noise Standards and Control Regulations were finalized after consulting relevant stakeholders and came into effect in 2003, which is almost 20 years ago.

“The National Environment Act lists places of worship among those that require mandatory project briefs or Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to be undertaken…It is not only from places of worship where complaints of noise have arisen. There are cases that have been reported from places of entertainment, industrial establishments etc; and NEMA has intervened in many of such cases,” he said.

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