After a hard day's work, many a people retire to bed and wake up as early as 4am to plan for the day ahead but the joy of our sleep and the early morning rest where thinking and strategies are hatched has been denied us for sometime now. For many rural communities, the peaceful dawn before sunrise has been replaced with sounds louder in volume than the permissible decibels for market areas.

Unlike scenes that one can easily close their eyes from seeing, same cannot be said about noise as one cannot think straight in a loud sound environment. Loud sounds or noise are invasions which deflect brain power from deliberate and reflective reasoning. The issue of noise pollution needs a national dialogue because of its related health and psychological effects. Churches, mosques, lorry stations etc are the culprits. It appears the loud noise has gagged the EPA into deafening silence.

I am spoilt for choice on sources of noise pollution but for now let’s tune our minds to this new virus which is spreading so fast and taking over our air space, the community information centers otherwise called community public address systems. With an amplifier, microphone and mega horns, one is more than resourced to own the "BBC" of his community. Noise ranging from the advertisement of uncertified drugs to the declarations of possessing supernatural antidotes to all life's problems have been the routine of individuals who ply their trade on these setups to abuse our eardrums. Not forgetting the scare mongering of symptoms of diseases and professing cure for non curable diseases by self acclaimed herbal doctors.

One wonders why in this era when there is an influx of affordable Chinese musical gadgets, someone will mount huge speakers on a mast and tune into a radio station and open the volume so loud that you can hear from as far as Jupiter for the whole community to listen against their choices and wishes.

As displeasing as it sounds, these facilities are owned by echelons in society including the clergy, assembly members and community leaders. Those who are supposed to take charge and clamp down this menace are the same people propagating it. The reasons why the environmental protection agency kowtows to this public nuisance remains an unsolved riddle fornthe abracadabra.

My first encounter with this growing canker was in 2013 when as a field officer for an NGO, I had to spend some nights sleeping in a guest house at DODOWA. Right on the top floor of the guest house was a setup for this booming information center which wakes occupants of the hospitality facility up as early as 4am to bashing and unpleasant noise from mega horns speakers affixed the apex of a mast. One needed the level of African gentility as defined by Bukum Banku lest you jab the managers of the facility. Even with that level of tolerance and African gentility, you cannot forgo the anger. 

How and why the guest house had the luxury to attach the information center to their hospitality facility is a question I leave for the inspectorate division of the Ghana tourist board to answer. The Environmental protection agency has been mute on this development just like they did for galamsey. They continue to sit aloof and watch perpetrators of this auditory galamsey operate against the regulations in the environmental protection Act 1994. The earlier we clean our air space from these audio terrorist the better for the country.

Community information centers came in handy as an innovative means to easily disseminate information in rural communities replacing the inefficient indigenous gongor beating. The importance of quick access to information cannot be underestimated but this should be better regulated and restricted to the making of announcements and some little other stuffs unlike the loud noises they make from dawn till dusk.

Seth Panyin Boamah
Engineer, writer and socio-political commentator

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