The Noise Abatement Act, 1993 and the Loudspeaker Culture
To the casual observer, there is clearly a blatant disregard for the law in this beautiful "Nature Isle". Nowhere is this more evident than with the Noise Abatement Act.
The Noise Abatement Act, 1993, is a legal and a moral document. In that sense the Noise Abatement Act is, like other human laws, an inborn, God-given moral code enshrined in human law, whose overarching principles form the basis of the constitution.
The Noise Abatement Act exists to protect our human and God-given rights to pursue our goals without mental violence or abuse from incessant loudspeaker noise and to provide redress through the judicial system. The broader intent and role of the Noise Abatement Act is to create a compassionate, loving, peaceful and a just society, as well as a contemplative, meditative nation.
To comply with the dictums and ideals of the Noise Abatement Act is not simply to accept the moral and human laws of the land and the constitution but it is to resonate and align ourselves with our internal moral code, our "higher self". Through this process of compliance and internal alignment we create the kind of idyllic society described above. By contrast, to ignore the orders and principles of the Act is to create a lawless, unproductive state and unnecessary sorrow for the law-abiding citizens of this land, many of whom are the most vulnerable members of society.
The Noise Abatement Act deals with the social, political, religious and economic activities of the nation through precise decrees. Whilst certain activities are spared from consideration by the Act, the activities associated with the sewo loudspeaker culture are against the letter of the law and are prohibited by the Act. Noise from a "trade or business", "in a street or from any premises adjoining a street…", or in a motor vehicle, come under the jurisdiction of the Act.
According to the Act any trade or business must be able to demonstrate that they have taken the necessary measures to either stop or diminish the effects of noise. That is they must ensure that the premises in which noise is to take place are appropriate for that purpose and that the premises have been approved for the activity of noise by the Planning Authority.
The Act also makes it an offence to make noise in a street or from premises bordering a street that will disturb others in the neighbourhood, except when the commissioner grants permission for political, public or religious meetings or services or emergency services such as the police, fire brigade and ambulance. Furthermore it is a violation of the law for a person to play or cause anyone else to play music loud in a motor vehicle that is likely to cause distress to others.
The occupier of any house or establishment has the right to take any noisemaker to court if he or she feels that he or she is being tormented by noise. Yet those who seek justice from the law for themselves and their loved ones are vilified, victimised and intimidated. They are considered the "problem" rather than the lawbreakers who make their lives and the lives of their loved ones a misery.
The Noise Abatement Act is flawed and in need of revision but it is still an effective piece of legislation, which can be a powerful and effective instrument to control and manage noise pollution. But those in power, including the Minister of Health, and law enforcement must enforce the law. The public must also uphold the law and abide by its principles and dictates. Only by obeying the moral law within, the law of the "higher self", which is enshrined in the law of the land can we create a peaceful, loving and compassionate society for the benefit of all, not simply for the few.
Colton Paul (The Centre for Inner Peace)