Mega cities are usually known for their humongous volume of population coupled with rising influx of people into such cities daily. Consequently, there will be proportional boost in the number of people at bars, restaurants, salon, churches, and mosques. In return, the level of noise produced in these places increases. Lagos as a mega city is no exception to this as there is an observable increase in noise pollution across the state.
A stroll down the streets of Lagos reveals vans with deafening loudspeakers ranting the benefits of a brand to people; two or three brand ambassadors were seen sharing handbills highlighting the prices, benefits and location to people. In major market areas, are these same vans with a small stage created for dancers who attract passersby with their craft as they twist and toss to the music produced from a nearest loudspeaker which is always on a high pitch.
In their efforts to make a request to God, some religious houses in the state have allegedly succeeded in disturbing the peace of neighbours through vigils, thunderous applauds and call to prayers that are usually done through loudspeakers directed to those outside the place of worship. In addition, one notable nature of Lagos mega city is the blasting sirens and horns that livens the highway.
However, according to a review paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, loud sounds from sirens and horns may increase the risk of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure.
Corroborating these observations and likely consequences Lagos residents groan amidst the noise pollution calling on the state government to do something about the level of pollution before it gets out of hand.
Dominion Agboola, a teacher stated that noise pollution is really on the rise and very disturbing. “On my street alone, there are three churches and these churches hold vigils and other programs at intervals, it is always like switching. When one finishes its 7days vigil, another would start 5days crusade, when that one stops, the next one would begin 21days miracle program. It is very hard for us to sleep in peace after many hours of laborious work. We go to church too!” he quipped.
Speaking on what the community had done to control the situation; Agboola revealed that the people in the area had complained to the leaders of the religious houses in question but that none of their requests had been granted. He stated that the community first wrote a letter to the leaders of the religious groups inviting them for a meeting, which they attended, complaints were laid bare and the solution was proposed: that the churches have to reduce the volume of their loudspeakers since those they are preaching to, are already inside the church with them.
He continued, “One of them said nothing, the other one said that it is not possible for him to do that because some people are in their homes praying along with them. The third one said that the people of the community ought to be grateful for the presence of a church in the area that all the prayers offered to God are also done for the sake of the residents in the area. In fact, by the time they got back, it multiplied.”
Miss Olayiwola Yemi, a youth corps member in the Ikotun axis also lamented the increase in noise pollution. She said that her house is near a mosque and the window to her bedroom is particularly close to the speaker such that whenever the muezzin makes a call to prayer, she rises out of her bed and relocates to the couch in the sitting room where the noise is minimal. “If I had come to check the house myself before paying the rent, I wouldn’t have agreed to stay here. I was in need of accommodation so I didn’t even bother to check. A friend of mine recommended the place to me and I trusted her judgment. Another friend of hers had packed out from here and she asked me to take up the room. Well, she is not totally wrong, the place is peaceful, calm and very okay as she claimed but the loudspeaker aspect was mentioned, she might not even know about it because I learnt that the person that packed out is a Muslim, so there was probably no offence in that.”
She added that she respects the religious views of everyone and made efforts to get the landlord to speak with the leaders of the mosque to redirect the speaker which he did but that there has been no difference as the leaders claimed that they had considered a best direction to place the speaker even before the house was built that there would be no change in that. “So what do I do? I keep switching from bedroom to parlour everyday; after all it is only a room and a parlour.”
Speaking with New Telegraph, Joshua Omoyeni, a gymnastic coach said that the major areas where government should tackle noise pollution is not that of religious houses but that of public places such as bars, restaurants, hotels among others. He averred that whether it is a Christian or Muslim religious house, all that is being offered is prayer but that bars and restaurants should be the main headache of the government as these places, he believes, constitute nuisance to the environment.
He said, “The government should checkmate the excesses of these hotels, club houses, bars and the likes. The people that are complaining about mosques and churches might have their reasons but how many days will church hold vigils? Mosque would definitely make a call to prayers every day, but for how many minutes? These bars and clubs are everyday workers, in fact every night and it is not for some minutes or for some hours, it is a thing that continues till the next morning. Fridays are worse; sometimes I might be forced not to go home on Fridays because it is usually louder and longer. Probably, they believe that everybody rests at home on Saturdays but some of us don’t.”
He also complained about the type of noises produced in the hotel near his house, which he referred to as “ungodly”.
A teacher, Mr. Adams Muyiwa, stated that the current level of noise pollution, if not addressed would have negative effects on the academic performance of students in Lagos state. Governments of mega cities around the world are known for their efforts towards providing comfort for their people one of which is the eradication of all forms of pollution in the state. Thus, issues bordering on the protection of the environment have been a major priority of the state government. This could be said to be responsible for the establishment of the Lagos state environmental police agency, LASEPA that perform a range of functions one of which is controlling to its barest minimum, noise pollution in Lagos state.
The objective of the pollution control department states thus, “Attending to public complaints on noise pollution from religious worship centers, night clubs, record/studio shops, hotels etc”
The agency which was established in 2013 had shut down a number of public places where the rule guiding noise pollution have been contravened, however, there seem to be a slack in the discharge of duties as LASEPA has refused to heed the cries of the masses against the current increase in the level of noise pollution in the state.
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