Do you hear me and them, Mr. Minister?

Several letters have been written by readers on sound pollution not to mention the others. On several occasions ‘The Island’ has through editorials invited the attention of the authorities, including the minister, to the need to control this menace. But there has been no action and talk only (NATO) and pollution of every variety, especially sound pollution, goes on unabated and is probably at its peak.

Musical record bars, organisers of musical evenings and political meetings, sweep ticket sellers, advertisers of various wares are the main offenders while weddings, home comings and birthday parties held in certain homes also cause intolerable disturbance to one and all - infants, students, the aged, the employed who need a good night’s rest and even patients in hospitals.

None of those who use loudspeakers seem to have any consideration for the neighbours and no neighbour would raise objections through fear of causing unpleasantness or sometimes reprisals because it is the order of the day for the wrongdoers to believe that it is their birthright to do what they wish to do. Nor do the police who issues the permit bother to have any check on its abuse.

Certain Buddhist temples and most mosques, too, use the loudspeakers to broadcast pirith and sermons and prayers. I am sure that they can easily do without loudspeakers because religious observances should not be a cause of disturbance to anyone. The tooting of horns done as a matter of habit and quite unnecessarily is another source of sound pollution. Private bus drivers are the worst offenders in this respect.

Are musical record bars, sweep ticket sellers etc., issued with permits to use loudspeakers? If so are there no conditions that it should be used in such a way as not to make it a public nuisance?

There is no need to write at length because not only the police that issue permits, but the Minister of Environment is aware what a menace the loudspeaker is today and the general public expect that the minister will take necessary steps without delay to control it.

S. Abeywickrama