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Noisy Grenada

Did you know that you can listen to music without disturbing anyone? Shocking!

No matter where you go in Grenada, there are sounds of every type – AMPLIFIED.

Vehicle owners have free will to blast their music, no matter the hour of the day or night, shop owners turn the volume up on their music systems, I guess to attract buyers, more so for the rum drinkers to come to loiter and undoubtedly inconsiderate homeowners turn up their radios and boom boxes because apparently, I asked them to share with me what they can easily listen for themselves.

Bus operators who offer a service to carry patrons to and fro, play their music as if it were them alone in the vehicle, neglecting the fact that babies, other children, and even the elderly are part of their passenger listing. OY VEY.

It is quite exasperating to have to deal with these challenges daily, as these people, the offending parties, are infringing on my rights for peace and quietness and frankly I am sick of it.

In 2019, I had to deal with very loud music, every Sunday, nonstop for 28 weeks straight. Noisy music that shook the windows and ceilings of my home, sound that caused my bed to vibrate, noise that I thought was going to drive me INSANE.

See, I live very close to the Community Centre in a very well-known village, and since the current Administration won the election in 2018, the keys to the Community Centre were handed over to someone who has no consideration for others.

He started throwing parties and selling things from the Community Centre for personal gain, added to this, he often boasted it was the Prime Minister’s doing that enabled him to have full control of the centre as if that made any damn sense.

The present Acting Commissioner of Police was engaged on this very matter and you know what he did, NOTHING. Ha-ha, you thought I was gonna say he did something. He did not a damn thing, and for those weeks, I suffered.

The catch is, the Prime Minister was also spoken to about this issue of the constant noise and the inappropriate and indiscriminate use of the Community Centre, as he often frequents the constituency office within the village, but alas he made provisions for it to continue.

As far as I know, a community centre is supposed to be used for activities that aid in Community growth and development, like classes for kids or programs for adults who want to further education, a meeting place for local groups, or even fundraisers.

It should NOT be used for dollar jam sessions or Free up Sundays or for Wild meat and free drinks. Show me where the money from these proceedings went into paying for the electricity or upkeep of the building! I’ll wait.

Grenada is supposed to have a noise pollution Act to protect its citizens from the harmful effects of noise but as we can see, it is not being enforced to the magnitude that it is supposed to.

According to the World Health Organisation, noise pollution is one of the most dangerous environmental threats to our health.

Of course, we understand that not all sound is considered noise. The WHO defines noise or sound above 65 decibels (dB) as noise pollution. Decibel is the unit used to measure sound.

They go on to explain that noise becomes harmful when it exceeds 75 decibels (dB) and is painful above 120. It is then recommended that noise levels be kept below 65 dB during the day and to achieve restful sleep, noise levels should not be more than 30 dB at night.

Noise in excess can cause respiratory distress, a racing pulse, high blood pressure, headaches, and, in cases of extremely loud, constant noise, gastritis, colitis, and even heart attacks. It causes attacks of stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and hysteria in both humans and animals.

Further to this, Noise above 45 dB stops you from falling asleep or sleeping properly. It affects people’s ability to focus, which can lead to poor performance over time. Did you know that our ears need more than 16 hours of recovery time to make up for two hours of exposure to the sound of 100 dB? I cannot make this shit up!

Because I dealt with constant noise, I have developed anxiety and my headaches have increased. I am a singer, a musician and this ordeal made me lose some of my music appreciation, to the point where I didn’t want to hear it, and that is so unlike me.

At the time of dealing with this constant sound, I felt like my skin was going to leave my body and my head was going to explode, I couldn’t think or even breathe properly. Needless to say, this affected me greatly.

There was a post in one of the online newspapers in Grenada about the incessant sound of Kites and the fact that they were causing discomfort to the elderly – people thought the author was crazy. Kite flying is a great past time, but kite flyers leave their kites flying all day and all night and the sounds that the kites emit are rather annoying.

It either sounds like a big truck approaching or the sound of an unabating mosquito. Imagine people aged and already unable to focus properly, only to be accosted with these sounds 24 hours a day, wouldn’t you find it an issue?

Through my research, it is evident that Grenada is not the only country in the Caribbean dealing with this invisible assailant that uses citizens to do its dirty work. There have been complaints in countries like Jamaica, St. Kitts, and even Trinidad about the constant din and clamouring of sound systems and other apparatuses’ alike.

So what can be done? What is a viable solution here? Is the Pan American Health Organisation prepared to do something? What are the leaders of these Islands going to do?

Some persons from other countries, where officials endeavour to manage noise pollution, claim that by doing so the nation would be taking on European Standards and encroaching on the culture of the people. If you ask me, that’s pure NONSENSE!

How does managing a health threat such as noise pollution intrude on the way of life of a people and so what if the guidelines are adapted from those used in larger countries? If it causes betterment for your citizens, isn’t that enough to welcome it into your mindsets and actions and legislation?

I for one am tired, I am tired of having to be awakened early in the mornings because someone decided that they need to be a musical alarm clock for others. I am tired of having to wait until someone pleases themselves and turn their music down so that I can go to bed and get a comfortable night’s rest.

I am tired of calling from the back of the bus, “driver can you turn down your bass please?” I am tired of wondering when this shit would end. This needs to stop, not only for me but for those who are affected.

Question is…HOW?

National Pleader

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