Thursday, April 25, 2024

Society losing fight against noise


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The Society for a Quieter Barbados (SQB) has not been muzzled.

But a lot of its members who agitated over the years for a noiseless Barbados have either passed away or are no longer active in the organisation.

President Carl Moore told the Sunday Sun that he was still inundated with noise complaints from Barbadians and visitors, but he said with only he and a public relations officer now running the show, there was little they could do to campaign against noise pollution.

Recalling when the organisation was first launched in 2002, Moore said he never expected it to be around for a long time because he believed Barbadians would easily comprehend the seriousness of such an irritant.

“All we had to offer was quiet, and we thought that people would welcome a little quiet, but it was not to be,” he confessed during an interview at his home.

At the height of its popularity the organisation attracted a membership of 250 people.

“But overtime people died. . . . We lost people like Dr Leonard Shorey, Peter Morgan, Leonard St Hill, Sir Frederick Smith and Oliver Jackman and things started to slow down from about 2006. We were pretty active in keeping a website, we ran short notices in newspapers and we participated in town hall meetings.”

One of their major successes was having the issue of noise pollution addressed in the National Commission on Law and Order 2000.

However, Moore said even with this significant mention the legislation which they so badly needed to bring effect to the issue, eluded them.

“We were involved in all these things but still not able to nudge the decision-makers to the point where they would put on the statute books strong legislation to deal with noise pollution,” he lamented, pointing out that even though noise pollution was addressed in four pieces of legislation, they were relatively weak.

“We were calling for something with real teeth. The Road Traffic Act, Highways Act and the Public Order Act, they all touched on noise and the nuisance that could be addressed. As far back as 1979, discussions were held but to date there has been no real progress and police have to rely on persuasion and veiled threats of prosecution.

Moore, 78, said the SQB started to fall off around 2008, struggling for three consecutive years to raise a quorum.

“So Barbadians have learned to live with noise, to tolerate it; but the thing about noise, you may adjust to noise by ignoring it but the ear never closes . . . .”

Some of the noise pollutants include loud music, kites, revving of vehicles and motorcycles, political and church meetings, barking dogs; even the ringing of cell phones.

Moore hopes that Barbadians would become more considerate and tuned into the health hazards that excessive loud noise can create, but he still remains optimistic that young people will step forward to continue to fight for a quiet society.


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