Govt shuts 24 churches over noise pollution
TWENTY four churches and some mosques in Lagos have been shut in the last one year, in defiance to some environmental laws in the state. The churches, especially faced the full wrath of the law over noise pollution nuisance, often blaring from loud speakers during day service and night vigils.
Director General of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, Rasheed Shabi, disclosed this yesterday at the 2015 Ministerial Press Briefing by the Ministry of the Environment. Noting that the subject was sensitive, Shabi said the clampdown on religious centres was the last resort following unsuccessful efforts to put the centres in check.
He observed that while club houses and mosques effectively complied with the environmental laws following warnings, several churches were often in defiance to state pleads. According to him, religious houses create 50 per cent of the noise pollution in Lagos today.
“This accounts for the closure of 24 churches and mosques in the last one year. We received lots of complaints from Okota area of Lagos and we intervened.
“But when some of the churches refused to comply, we had to shut them down or have some of them relocate from the residential areas. Those allowed to reopen had to sign an undertaken that their noise would not disturb the neighborhood.
“Compliance was more convenient for the mosques, as many of them have now removed the loud speaker from the streets,” he said.
Shabi, however, added that there was significant improvement in compliance to guidelines on noise pollution in the state in 2014 compared with previous year’s. Noise pollution nuisance has abated from 13.44 per cent in 2013 to 30.02 per cent in 2014.
Non-compliance rate is still on the high side though. It is 73.77 per cent for religious centres; 68.32 per cent for residential and 52.63 per cent for industrial sector.