Opinions Tue, 26 Feb 2013

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The anarchy of noice

A society where people wake up thinking it is their duty to provide music to their co tenants and neighbors is a cause for concern. It is only in Ghana where a neighbor can wake you up to early morning ‘azonto fiesta’ celebration. One is compelled into a mood of mourning, merriment or love at any time of the day without a reason. Every sound minded person, however, needs some quiet time for reflective thinking. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Ghanaians who have absolutely no control over the level of noise they have to contend with. Many are bombarded with thunderous earsplitting noise even in their places of residence.

The Ghanaian society has become a heathen of noise. This menace permeates public places, ‘trotros’, and homes to ear piercing ringtones from Chinese phones. Even though little misgivings or qualms may be raised with regard to public noises, in the Ghanaian context, there is a thin line between public and residential places. Poor planning has amalgamated most residential areas with public places such as markets, transport terminals, shops and churches among others. In light of this development, the uncontrollable nature of noise from the public places have totally invaded homes making life unbearable to many well meaning Ghanaians thereby depriving them of their peace of mind. This is a problematic situation as there seems to be no effort from city authorities at mitigating the menace. Lawlessness at best has converted places of abode into noise heathens against the right and freedom of residents to sound environment.

Another grave area of concern is public transport, especially the popular ‘trotro’. Can you imagine boarding a trotro after a day of stressful work only to be welcomed with earsplitting and thunderous music? This is a routine malady of many Ghanaians, who do not have a luxury of private vehicles, go through on daily basis. The level of noise at such period can be stressful surpassing the stress of the entire working day. The drivers appear not to give an ear of concern to their hostage customers who cannot make or receive phone calls. There is absolute lack of serenity and order as an appeal by passengers to receive a call may be rejected or met with insults depending on the mood of the driver and his mate.

Now the worst form of this nuisance is the noise posed by neighboring residents and co-tenants largely in the form of music. In my few years in the village, I realized it was a common and fashionable practice for people to carry their sound systems popularly called ‘tape’ on their shoulders and blaze along with loud music. This practice was hailed and people involved were held as ‘top of the town’. Many city dwellers will look at such a practice with disdain. However, city dwellers and the elite are neither free from this cobweb of incivility. Some co-tenants wake up thinking it is their duty to serve as a ‘DJ’ or an Fm station for neighbors. Apparently, they either think they have got the most bouncing sound systems or the best music collections ever to showcase. They want everyone to dance to their tune; happiness, love mood, sadness and whatever you can think of. What a society?

In the Ghanaian society, no one is exempted from this societal ill until one is able to afford the luxury of residence in the Regimanuels’ and the like. But how many people can afford such luxury? And how long are the majority of Ghanaians going to endure this menace until one is able to afford such a luxury? It is important to state here that most vital elements and values of life are not that expensive and can be created through building personal and societal values that makes the world a better place for all and sundry.

Fellow citizens let wake up in respect to reasonable regulation of sound systems to acceptable levels. City authorities must also do more within their limited resources to control noise levels. More essentially, there is a need for attitudinal change. Individuals, businesses, churches, mosques among others must wake up to their sense of responsibility in ensuring a harmonious society. So next time you decide to enjoy some music make sure it does not become a bother to others.

Emmanuel Kwasi Mawuena


Concerned citizen

Columnist: Mawuena, Emmanuel Kwasi

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