Exposure to load noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbance, and stress. These health problems can affect all age groups, especially children.
A few years back I used to enjoy the calm when strolling in the quiet streets or visiting the markets of the Zanzibar Municipality.
At that time it was seldom to hear people shouting because even in crowded places there was the discipline of sound control. This enables you to hear even those whispering a few feet away.
But the situation has now changed drastically. There is noise everywhere, even near places of worship, schools and hospitals.
Every place is noisy. You even hear sharp, shrill and alarming car and motor cycle horns at night. It is common nowadays, unlike in the past, to see brass bands or “kidumbak” (small drum used by taarab groups) in wedding processions.
In the past, the public address systems were used in few mosques during prayers and congregation and the volume was under control, not like those from the discotheques.
Most of the noise was the low, sweet sound of pigeons on roof tops or open grounds and of planes winging by overhead after short intervals and of course of stray dogs yowling and barking.
The seriousness of the noise pollution experienced in Zanzibar is exhibited by seeing few people nowadays wear ear plugs when they go to crowded places.
What I have noticed is that many people are becoming increasingly intolerant of loud music and noisy neighbours.
Almost all the mobile street vendors have now started using loud speakers to draw attention of the residents. In the markets many vendors also use recorded messages broadcast by the public address system to advertise their goods or services provided at the shops or on bicycles.
This has become a nuisance. This common technique to lure the masses through a public address system announcing about their products or services by repeatedly playing the insanely loud audio recordings has added to the increased noise pollution in the residential areas known for their tranquility.
When these vendors are on the streets, the peaceful ambience is overpowered by high decibel noise and on certain occasions, high-pitch vibrations caused by their vehicles just add to the nuisance.
We are already suffering in one way or the other due to Corona outbreak and of course, all we need during these difficult times is a peaceful setting to work, attend online classes, or relax.
Advertising through cell phones and in the streets and traders who use loud speakers to sell commodities is now a serious health hazard and a public nuisance in Zanzibar.
There is no argument that advertising is important in any business, but it must be conducted in a civilized manner and should not be allowed to disturb the society, be inside or outside their homes.
Nowadays, the cell companies or those selling potatoes and tomatoes are at liberty to disturb
their customers with hopeless messages through loud speakers.
It is now a common practice for people to nuisance messages clicking in your cell phones even at the dead of the night.
Sometimes you get awakened when you are fast asleep and when you respond by picking the phone you are given a lecture that you haven’t asked for on how to win a big prize through a lottery.
The cell phone companies have installed automatically recorded nasty ringtones, songs or messages which you hear once one gives you respond
to a phone call.
I have heard people complaining that some of the cell phone messages are filthy and unethical.
Some of these cell phone companies which have employed youths who roam the streets or park their
vans near places of worship and make a hell of noise to advertise the products and services of these companies.
This is a public nuisance of the highest order and should not be tolerated by any civilized society.
The Government must come out with a programme to control this noise pollution which is increasing at a fast pace.
This is because noise pollution, apart
from being annoying, leads to abnormal blood pressure and an increase in stress.
Sound becomes unwanted when it either interferes with normal activities such as sleeping, conversation or disrupts one’s quality of life.
Nowadays, we hear in many countries a public outcry against the noise nuisance. It is very unfortunate that law enforcers in Zanzibar seem not to take this public outcry seriously.
The Government and the municipal authorities must take steps to stop this torture of noise pollution by enacting bylaws which will regulate and supervise the uses of public address systems, cell phone companies and traders who use loud speakers in the streets and residential areas.
Several countries have in the past few years taken drastic steps to enact laws and regulations to
reduce this nuisance. Zanzibar has no other choice, but to do the same as quickly as possible.
No one should be allowed to reduce the Islanders as people with hearing impairments.
This should start at market places and vendors should not be allowed to go around residential areas advertising their products and services by the use of loud speakers.