Pastors, City Bar Owners Remanded for Noise Pollution

Entebbe/ Kampala– Authorities have sent on remand two pastors and three bar proprietors over noise pollution charges.

The two pastors are Edward Mukisa and Herman Ssebunje from Nkumba Miracle Centre in Bendegere village in Katabi Town Council, Wakiso District.

In a separate case, the proprietors of Hide Out Bar and Lounge in Kololo, Sisay Beruke, Tigsti Melkamu and Steven Ssetumba, were also remanded for two weeks over noise pollution.

They appeared before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Tuesday on charges of noise pollution and pleaded not guilty, according to a June 29, 2022 statement from National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

According to NEMA, the law requires establishments such as places of worship, recreational and production activities either submit project briefs or undertake environmental and social impact assessment to enable relevant authorities to guide their operations….” to ensure that aspects of the environment including noise, air, and water pollution are not compromised.”

They face a fine not exceeding fifty thousand currency points, the equivalent of Shillings one billion, or a maximum jail term of 15 years, or both.

NEMA’s senior public relations officer, Tony Acidria, said the suspects were arrested for being notorious noise polluters.

“They are repeat offenders because the noise levels when measured were above the permissible level of 60 decibels during the day and 40 decibels at the night for places of worship in residential areas,” he said.

The law defines daytime as running from 6 am to 10 pm and night hours as running from 10 pm to 6 am. The National Environmental (Noise Standards and Control) Regulations, 2003 defines noise pollution as “the release of uncontrolled noise that is likely to cause danger to human beings or damage to the environment.”

Acidria said NEMA had severally warned the suspects to control the noise from their church in vain. For instance, on February 15, NEMA officials led by Isaac Mugabi inspected the church and sensitized the pastors and other church administrators about noise pollution. The measurements showed that the church was emitting noise levels in the range of 60 and 86 decibels, above the permissible noise levels.

When the community complained that the church leaders have failed to control noise levels, NEMA officials inspected the premises on June 24 and arrested the two pastors.

During the latest operations, Acidria said they also impounded some of the loudspeakers from the church.

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