Our PM was prophetic regarding the enactment of the necessary legal instruments to control noise pollution. In fact in December 2012 he said that it is damn difficult. Apropos during these 30 months of governance, noise pollution was not discussed in any parliamentary session, except for the noise generated from the open-air theatre. Maybe, being at the top of the class as the noisiest in all sectors is a privilege not to be spurned!
Therefore, when I come by the proposed, ‘Noise Abatement, Prevention and Control Act’, I was very surprised and naturally interested. But reading through this Act it reminded me of the previous regulations, ‘Noise Prevention and Control (Framework) Regulations’, published on the 11th hour by the previous administration.
The main difference is that the ‘Noise Guideline’, published by WHO is missing. The guidelines underline the noise level criteria for the 24 hr period of the day. And, adding insult to injury this is to be presented to the parliament as an Act!
An act is served to the legislative body that approves it in the form of a bill, before it is passed. This then undergoes (grinds) through three different readings where the members of the legislative body would read through the entire bill that is passed and then scrutinize it with regards to its effectiveness and possible loopholes. If after these three readings and careful scrutiny, the bill is then approved and then published to the groups of people that it would affect.
After its baptism the Act requires the guidelines that dictate how the provisions of the Act are applied. In other words a set of regulations. These are drawn up and approved by a group selected by the government.
Therefore, what is the point of this exercise? It is a given that this Government was not expected to legislated what was published on the 11th hour by its predecessors. On the other hand, tweaking the previous regulations would have given the desired result. Since there was substantive preparatory work carried out regarding the legal and the administrative areas.
Hence those whose health is being jeopardised by the ever increasing noise pollution would, in my opinion, have to wait another couple of years to see day light at the end of the tunnel.