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Comply with noise level or face fines

Published: 
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RADHICA DE SILVA

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Warning that fete promoters will be fined and penalised if they do not comply with stipulated noise levels, chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) Nadra Nathai-Gyan yesterday called on promoters to be more considerate of the sick and elderly.

She was speaking two days after the EMA and the police ordered an adjustment of decibel levels at the popular Red Ants’ Stumped cooler fete held at the Queen’s Park Oval on Saturday night.

Responding to statements by Red Ants officials that strict application of noise (decibel) levels was unreasonable and could kill Carnival and the culture, Nathai-Gyan said this was not the case.

“The fact that we are granting noise variation permits proves we are not against culture or Carnival,”Nathai-Gyan said, adding, “If you violate our noise variation agreement you will be fined and we will take this into account the next time you apply.” According to an EMA handout, the decibel level for a fete is 65 dBA.

Asked what the EMA was doing to sensitize fete promoters about the stipulations, Nathai-Gyan said the public education campaign started since December last year. She also said when fete promoters apply for a noise variation permit they agree to the stipulations.

“Therefore, if you agree why are you flouting the regulations? We will be looking at that and we are working with the police to make sure that people comply,” Nathai-Gyan said.

She noted that during the public consultations for the national environmental policy, noise pollution was the top complaint by citizens.

Although the EMA’s Enforcement Police Unit was understaffed, Nathai-Gyan said the TTPS, through Deputy Commissioner of Police Deodat Dulalchan, was working with the EMA to ensure compliance.

She also said that fete promoters can take their measures to contain the sound by positioning speakers away from residential communities and also sound proofing areas wherever possible.

However, fete consultant Ian Pantin said the EMA could do more to sensitize promoters.

“Before a fete is held, the EMA could meet with promoters and have discussions on what are the best areas to host events and how the stage could be positioned to reduce noise levels. That way many of the issues could be resolved before a fete takes place,” Pantin said. He agreed that some areas should be zoned off, adding that people should be considerate to neighbouring communities.

Ann Narine, one of the organisers of the Soka in Moka fete, said the EMA’s guidelines were specific.

“When they give you the noise variation approval they inform you how much decibels are acceptable and you have to comply,” Narine said.

However, an official from Red Ants said artistes, DJs and promoters are meeting with the relevant authorities, those affected by noise levels and other stakeholders to determine an approach moving forward.

He noted that the strict application of decibel levels can effectively kill T&T Carnival and the culture which brings in foreign exchange to T&T.

The official also said that in other countries police, fire, environmental and other statutory bodies support promoters and band leaders to ensure the success of their tourist industry.

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