25 February 2013

Rwanda: Kigali Issues New Rules On Noise Pollution

The City of Kigali has issued fresh guidelines to regulate noise pollution.

Among the requirements is for bars, churches and event organisers to fit sound-proof equipment. The measures came into force last week.

The guidelines recommend fines for noise pollution and hotlines for all the districts in Kigali, which residents can call to report noise pollution in their neighbourhoods.

Offenders risk a fine of up to Rwf100,000.

According to Bruno Rangira, the public relations and communication expert for the City of Kigali, noise pollution had become a nuisance, especially at night.

"It isn't enough to just establish these measures; they are supposed to be enforced," Rangira said. "There are fines put in place for culprits and if we catch any, we will not hesitate to impose the fine. We have to learn not to make other people uncomfortable."

The measures have, however, drawn mixed reactions from the public. Some residents said pollution is not limited to events.

"It makes me happy that some one is holding a birthday or wedding. However, there are some people who blare music as if they are entertaining the whole district," Yvonne Gatsinzi, a resident of Kacyiru, said.

However, churches see it differently.

Pastor Isaac Karamira of Faith Evangelical Church in Gatsata said, "I support the decision, but it may lay ground for some people to disrupt church activities. Also, no time has been stipulated; we are wary of being raided during service."

He said they need more time to establish sound proof facilities.

City authorities had given churches until December 2012 to curb noise pollution.

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