Council Clamps Down on Noise Pollution

Sharon Chigeza

28

MUTARE- It is barely 4am on a Monday and the dead silence is broken by a shrieking sound of
a commuter omnibus tout scouting for his very first passengers for the day. This is shortly
followed by the voice of a woman shouting, “Mango, Tomatoes, muboora, magaga” at the top of
her voice to attract residents to her ‘mobile’ fruit and vegetable market she carries on top of her
head.
For such individuals, the adage the earliest bird catches the fattest worm, is what they go by, to
which the worms seem unamused.
This is the sound that residents, especially in high density suburbs across the country have
become accustomed to over the years.
As cities expanded, and the number of merchandisers grew, the idea of touting to sell slowly
found its way to central business districts.
It has become a common sight to see vendors either in residential areas or in town shouting at the
top of their voices as a marketing strategy.
Some have even put their creativity to test by crafting signature cries for their wares.
As if that is not enough, the advent of technology has allowed those without the vocal prowess to
use loud hailers, radios and speakers to advertise their merchandise.
Inundated with complaints from residents over noisy vendors, the Mutare City Council has
indicated that it is currently running an operation to clampdown on properties and merchandisers
causing noise pollution in and around the city.
In a statement, the local authority urged merchandisers and owners of entertainment properties
such as bars and night clubs to consider their neighbours.
“Reference is hereby made to numerous complaints made to Council over noise in the city
particularly with regards to that made by merchandisers and other residents who resort to
advertising using loudspeakers and other musical instruments in the CBD and other surrounding
areas.
‘Residents are therefore, urged to desist forthwith from conducting unauthorized actions as they
disturb peace and tranquility of the public and other business operators,” read part of the
statement.
According to the Mutare noise by laws, Section 4, it is illegal to operate loud or musical devices
that disturb the peace and tranquility of the public.
“May it be noted that the said activities are regulated by the Mutare By-laws which in section 4
state as follows:

‘No person shall, a) operate or cause or permit to the operated, any wireless, loudspeaker,
gramophone, record-player, amplifier, musical instrument or similar device so as to disturb or
interfere with the rest, peace or tranquility of the public or any section of the public, or
b) operate or cause or permit to be operated, for the purpose of attracting customers or
indicating the presence of vendors in the neighbourhood, any wireless,loudspeaker,
gramophone, record-player, amplifier, musical instrument or similar device in or adjacent to
any public street, without the prior written consent of the council,” reads the statement.
Those who wish to partake in any form of advertisements using the gadgets mentioned should
first seek permission from council authorities.
It has been widely reported that residents who live in noisy environments face mental health
problems, sleep deprivation, hearing impairment, high blood pressure among other diseases.
Noise can be defined as unwanted or undesirable sound and can materially affect an individual or
a community’s health, well-being and enjoyment of their surroundings.
Lately Mutare has seen a lot of street merchandisers springing up in the CBD as well as high
density suburbs of Dangamvura, Chikanga and Hobhouse.

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