Soon laws to combat noise
By Santhush Fernando
Noise pollution at carnivals, musical shows and religious
festivals is to be controlled through new Community Noise
Standards drafted by the Environment and Natural Resources
The Central Environmental Authority (CEA), which
is the statutory body in Sri Lanka for the drafting of
regulation over environment related matters has referred the
draft proposal to the Attorney General and is awaiting the green
light to gazette the regulation.
Community activities such as musical shows,
carnivals, nightclubs, reception halls and karaoke clubs along
with commercial activities such as street lottery selling,
record bars, emergency generators and air conditioning plants
are cited as public nuisance .
The CEA committee headed by Deputy Director
(Air, Noise and Vibration) C. K. Ameratunga has formulated the
new regulations and the Supreme Court intimated the Authority to
draft community noise standards. At present there are no
standards set out for most noise emitting activities except for
industries and construction.
Sarath Wijasakara, Senior Environmental Officer
of the CEA told The Nation that an island-wide survey conducted
by the Authority had found that the largest number of sources of
noise pollution is being reported under the category of cultural
and religious activities.
The use of loud speakers at public places and
use of emergency generators at commercial establishments and
nightclubs was also found to be a nuisance to the public at
The existing noise standards for industrial and
construction activities were gazetted under the National
Environmental Act (NEA) No. 47 of 1980 in Gazette Extraordinary
No.924/12 dated May 23,1996.
The present Anti Noise Pollution Programme,
which was launched in June 2003, is the first of such in the
country, and is limited to the Colombo city. Legal action
against offenders is taken under the Nuisance Ordinance. The
sound limit during the day is 65 decibels and 55 decibels in the
The formulation of these standards was
undertaken by a technical committee of the Air Quality and Noise
Pollution Studies Unit of the Ministry of Environment comprising
experts from the relevant stakeholder agencies in Sri Lanka.
All community noise sources were categorized
into four sub categories; religious activities, entertainment
activities (indoor and outdoor) commercial activities (mobile
and stationary) and household equipment and related activities.
Loud intermittent toot from vehicle horns and
silencers compounded with lack of standard specifications for
horns had also been pointed out as a major irritant to the
The Authority called in for submissions last
year from relevant ministries of religious and cultural affairs,
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and members of the general
public regarding community activities and on how to curb noise
pollution while conducting these activities.