ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 18, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 25

Crackdown on sound

Police have started implementing the court order on the prevention of sound pollution with many of the religious institutions co-operating. Before taking serious action Police have started briefing organisations, institutions and individuals violating the court order.

“There are many parties using loudspeakers and other sound amplifiers, like lottery sellers, mobile network dealers and VCD/DVD shops. Many of them are unaware they should get a licence and that loudspeakers are banned between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” a Pettah Police officer said.

The Environment Ministry is finalizing the new draft regulations on Community Noise Level Standards which would be implemented from the beginning of next year after being approved by Parliament. However, religious leaders in the country had differing views on the subject. Ven.Kumuruttettuwe Ananda Thera of the Sri Abayarama Purana Vihara in Narahenpita said there was weekly pirith and also Deva Madu and Gammadu, which continues till early in the morning and they would be affected by the new regulations.

“There are many ways of noise pollution. I believe that pirith doesn’t come into this category. There is a difference between a light bulb used at a temple and one at a carnival. The purposes are different. It’s the same with noises also,” the thera said. The thera added that the Police handed over a letter explaining what contempt of court means and also informed that special licences should be obtained for important occasions.

A moulavi of the Maradana Mosque said that following Police instructions, the call for morning prayers through loudspeakers has been stopped. Colombo Grand Mosque Secretary General Nazushan Hassen said some mosques have stopped all five prayer calls and added that it amounted to a violation of the rights of Muslims.

Last week, some Muslims held a protest in Kotahena complaining that police had ordered them to stop the evening prayers. Fr. Bob Rodrigo, Parish Priest of St. Lawrence Church, Wellawatte said the court order on the use of loudspeakers would not create a major problem as loudspeakers were not used outside. A few churches have reportedly taken measures to reduce the sound level of prayers in the morning.

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