The company claims that the system used to measure noise could be inappropriate

Mar 23 , 2019

Municipal authorities shut down a local marble factory, DRB International Marble Factory, located in Akaki Qality district for causing noise pollution in the surrounding area.

The Addis Abeba Environmental Protection Authority took the action on March 18, 2019, following complaints filed by residents of the lower-middle income housing condominium development.

Following the grievances, the Authority conducted a sound inspection of the seven-year-old company and measured the loudness of the sound using decibel meters.

The decision was based on noise levels measured at 71 decibels, higher than the 55-decibel limit for residential areas, according to Baye Tolosa, environmental director of the Authority.

“We had issued a warning letter several times for them to reduce the sound pollution,” said Baye.

The first warning letter to the factory was issued on December 4, 2018.

The 30-million-Br factory that occupies 1,100Sqm of land produces between 150Sqm to 200Sqm of marble a day and has 100 employees.

The factory disagrees with the Authority's findings. “The inspection officer used a mobile phone application, which showed the 71-decibel result, and a sound meter that recorded only 54,” said Dawit Tsegaye, general manager of the company.

Sound decibel meters are used to measure sound in daily life, while noise decibel meters are used to measure noise.

A letter that forewarned the factory to reduce the noise within two days was received on March 15, 2019.

“We are appealing the issue to the Authority, for there is a possibility that the mobile application may be outdated,” said Dawit.

The Authority, which insists that no other means of measurement but a sound meter can be used, is willing to look into the allegation made by the factory.

Residents of the area are appreciative of the decision of the Authority.

“We have been made to live with the loud sound of the factory,” says Tsion Assefa, one of the residents in the area that have seconded the decision given by the Authority.

Experts also applaud the measure taken by the Authority.

Loud sound pollution will cause health and psychological problems, according to Messay Mulugeta (PhD), lecturer and researcher of socio-economic development and environmental study for nearly two decades at Addis Abeba University.

“Especially children are more sensitive to noise pollution as it harms them from hearing and affects their IQ," Messay said.

The plant will be open under the circumstance when the factory fulfils the normal standards and minimises sound pollution to the acceptable level, according to Baye.

The Authority has shut down 50-night clubs and restaurants last year. Four months ago the Authority shut down 14 nightclubs in the Gerji, area accusing them of creating sound pollution.

It also closed the doors of 20 nightclubs within the city in this fiscal year, most of them located in Bole District, Summit area.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 23,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 986]

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