Back in 2017, residents of Area 3 in Lilongwe successfully complained about noise pollution at Lilongwe Golf Club. The residents moved Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to force the golf club to stop hosting live music events beyond 6 pm.
This was quite unprecedented and I remember at the time I wrote in this column that I hoped this would be the beginning of residents taking a stand against owners of entertainment outfits that are based in residential areas. This is part of what I wrote…
…the rest of the entertainment industry must realise and respect that first and foremost the city council is indebted to its residents to provide them with a good environment and this is beyond good roads, sanitation and security. It also means ensuring intangible services like reducing noise pollution for all residents. So, whether it is in the densely populated Areas of 23 and Likuni or the uptown Areas of 43 and 47, residents have the right to a peaceful environment.
I applaud the residents of Area 3 for taking the bold step to demand the enforcement of by-laws on noise pollution. It’s high time that residents of other areas in the capital city followed suit.
I am glad that, three years later, residents of Area 47 have indeed followed suit by asking LCC to shut down Epic Lounge, an entertainment club in Sector 2. I was pleased to read this past week that finally, just like residents of Area 3, people of Area 47 had had enough.
I am once again hoping that this move will inspire residents from other areas in Lilongwe and indeed in areas in other cities across the country to demand an end to noise pollution. And this includes loud music from homes whose occupants decide to turn them into wedding venues.
A few weeks ago, President Lazarus Chakwera encouraged city councils to start rethinking certain things such as infrastructure, sanitation and hygiene and the overall wellbeing of residents. I believe it is important that part of that rethinking should include adherence to set regulations and by-laws.
Noise pollution is an offence according to city by-laws and no one should be allowed to get away with contravening this by-law. I am made to believe that residents of Area 47, Sector 2 have more than once complained about the noise emanating from Epic Lounge but nothing was done. This is unfortunate.
The city councils should not always wait for residents to complain before moving in to enforce by-laws. After all, aren’t city council employees’ residents in the city too? I am sure they get annoyed by the same infringements of by-laws as everybody else. Likewise, they hear the loud music in residential areas in the dead of night but why they don’t act is still a puzzle to me.
The recreational sector offers opportunities for big businesses in our cities and many times there are powerful and influential people who own these clubs, bars, and entertainment hotspots. I know this is what makes it difficult for city authorities to enforce by-laws but this shouldn’t have to be the case because, the last time I checked, no one was supposed to be perched above the law.
Marcus Muhariwa is a trained journalist and communications professional. He has a passion for writing on social issues.