Diego noise pollution disrupts virtual classes: ‘I can’t hear myself think’

A resident of Diego Martin has said a nearby business has been the source of constant loud music in the area.

The mother of a ten-year-old who began virtual classes on Monday, said she has contacted the police on several occasions since January, but her requests have fallen on deaf ears.

She asked to be anonymous for fear of retribution.

“This goes on from Sunday to Sunday, sometimes until midnight…I am trying to be law-abiding, but it is getting harder to control my urges. It feels as if I am going insane. I cannot concentrate on my work.”

She said she called the police on several occasions, and also made complaints through the police app.

But she said when the police visit the business and ask the owner, a young man, to turn it down, he complies, waits for the police to leave, and then blares his music again.

To taunt surrounding residents, she said, he would play Jamaican artist Vybes Kartel’s Nuh Fraid, a song promoting gun violence against those deemed to be enemies.

The affected woman said it was not until stay-at-home measures were implemented in March that she realised how bad it was for neighbouring residents.

“I didn’t realise it was all day…I don’t mind you are enjoying yourself (but) you are not the neighbourhood DJ.”

At the time of Newsday's phone interview with her, music could be heard in the background. She said she put her daughter in another room, as far from the source of the noise as possible, but even with a headset on, she can still hear it.

“She is still being affected, but for the most part she is coping. (He) is not thinking about people with children…How are children going to get through their curriculum for the day with the noise?

"It is not a personal issue; it is a national issue.

“I know I am not the only one being affected, (but) I do not even want to talk to the neighbours for people to think I am talking. People are not nice. I do not trust anyone. I don't want it to be even rumoured that I was the person who made the call.”

She said she tried to contact Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh and the Prime Minister via social media but has not had a response.

Her last attempt to get help was a phone call to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), where she was told by an agent, whose name she could not recall, that the legal decibel limit for the daytime is 65, and at night it is 80. The decibel is a unit used to measure sound.

The representative advised her to go to the police to get them to look into the matter, but when she called the police, they said they did not have the equipment to measure sound, and would not be able to tell if the business owner was over the legal limit.

Newsday contacted the EMA on Monday and was told by an official that the EMA does not deal with noise complaints, which are dealt with by the police.

Police Communications Manager Francis Joseph told Newsday, to his knowledge, the EMA is indeed tasked with monitoring public noise complaints.

“The EMA has police officers. They have a unit that deals with these things. They can shut down loud music.”

He said the police do not have the decibel meters needed to measure sound.

The resident told Newsday on Tuesday an Environmental Police Unit (an extension of the EMA) officer contacted her and said someone would visit the business on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Noise Pollution Control rules, part of the Environmental Management Act, states "... no person shall emit or cause to be emitted any sound that causes the sound pressure levels to be greater than the prescribed standards."

It also states, where the sound pressure level is greater than the prescribed standards, a sign should be placed that reads "WARNING: Sound level may cause adverse effect to human health and well-being."


"Diego noise pollution disrupts virtual classes: ‘I can’t hear myself think’"

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