Across the world there is a movement for greater silence. From India to Shanghai, from Africa to London and America there is a cry for quieter, more peaceful societies. For example, in India, the Awaaz Foundation is advocating for the eradication of noise; in London and America the Noise Abatement Society and Noise Free America respectively are campaigning for pollution-free communities. This global movement for silence in our lives is fuelled by an equally global spiritual and environmental movement that recognises the destructive effects of human activity on the social and physical environments.

The Dominica Noise Abatement Association is an organisation created to support this spiritually and environmentally driven movement for pollution-free environments, to challenge the proliferation and normalisation of noise in this culture and to develop awareness of the destructive effects of noise on every aspect of our development.

The Dominica Noise Abatement Association is, put simply, the logical next step in the campaign for peace of mind and justice for those whose lives are blighted by noise. It is another dimension in the drive to silence the noise and to promote a more reflective and contemplative society, a society that has taken on the character of a bacchanal state. Amidst the nonstop hedonistic bacchanal there must be quiet spaces for peaceful reflection, for those who still understand or remember what this means.

The Dominica Noise Abatement Association seeks to engender a pollution-free environment so that the mind and spirit can find contentment and healing in silence and stillness. Meaningful progress is impossible in so much sewo, so much noise. All it takes to fulfil this ambition is for the relevant authorities to listen to their conscience, to the moral voice within and enforce the law.

It is important for the public to understand the destructive power of noise. The idea that noise kills is a common sense view that few people are able to grasp. They do not fully comprehend the fact that noise is a destructive force that generates high levels of stress that destroys lives and those who are most at risk are children, whose young developing brains are being pulverised by noise, the elderly, and the sick, the most vulnerable in our society, who are the most sensitive to the destructive power of noise.

I will reiterate these basic facts: repeated exposure to excessive noise not only causes sleep disturbance and hearing impairment, but has adverse effects on the heart and circulatory system, causing hypertension, heart disease and stroke; the immune system, lowering the body's ability to fight infections; mental health, creating depression, anxiety and aggressive behaviour; childhood and cognitive development, disrupting the, "body's natural rhythms causing sluggishness, poor concentration, depressed mood and irritability", as well as hyperactivity. Undue noise also impacts negatively on productivity in the work place and the economy and on the developing foetus in the womb with long term consequences on the child's mental and physical well-being.

The Dominica Noise Abatement Association will continue to advocate for the revision and enforcement of the Noise Abatement Act and to campaign for healthcare professionals and other groups in whose best interest it is to challenge the proliferation and normalisation of noise to speak out for change. Furthermore, The Dominica Noise Abatement Association will also seek to make the damaging effects of noise pollution a focal point for Caribbean Wellness Month and child development programmes and to make International Noise Awareness Day a calendar event.

The ultimate goal of the Dominica Noise Abatement Association is not simply to promote the need for a pollution-free society but to remind Dominicans of this gift of nature bequeathed to them by the almighty and its huge potential for the development of the mind, body and spirit.
Colton Paul The Centre for Inner Peace The Dominica Noise Abatement Association Colton