EMA: Noise pollution not needed for successful event
Machel Montano at Stumped. Photo via Machel Montano, Twitter
While Carnival is an integral element of the tradition and culture in Trinidad and Tobago and provides livelihoods to many citizens, this must be balanced with the right of all to enjoy property, peace, and wellbeing.
The comment from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) comes as fete organisers Red Ants accused Environmental Police acting on behalf of the EMA of strict enforcement of decibel laws which would only serve to kill T&T’s culture and Carnival.
The authorities requested that the music be lowered at cooler fete Stumped over the weekend as it exceeded the decibel levels allowed in the organisers’ Noise Variation Permit.
The move was applauded by the Woodbrook Residents’ Association which has long fought for volumes at fetes to be at levels that allow residents of all ages to enjoy their homes inside and outside of Carnival.
“Woodbrook residents have never been against Carnival, but have begged for years to be respected and to be allowed to enjoy our homes as everyone else does.”
“We see this enforcement of the law by the authorities as a major step in the right direction and we will continue to work with the authorities, band leaders and other carnival stakeholder to ensure equality for all,” the group said.
A Noise Variation Permit issued by the EMA sets out the sound levels that an event promoter is allowed to emit, and identifies the measures that the event promoter must put in place to minimise disturbance to nearby sensitive receptors such as homes, schools, hospitals, places of religious worship and homes for the elderly.
To protect the health and wellbeing of sensitive receptors, the NPCR prescribes standards* in three areas-: 1) General; 2) Environmentally Sensitive, and 3) Industrial areas. In ‘general areas’ such as Woodbrook, St. Clair, Port-of-Spain and environs, the nighttime (8pm-8am) level is 65 decibels.
With a Noise Variation Permit, an event promoter is allowed to exceed the prescribed level. Holders of a Noise Variation Permit are required to adhere to the set decibel levels. In cases where no Noise Variation is obtained by the event promoter, the regular (daytime or nighttime) prescribed levels must be observed.
In reminding the public and event promoters of the requirement to apply for, obtain and abide by a Noise Variation Permit where amplified sound equipment will be used, the EMA stressed that noise pollution is not a prerequisite for hosting a successful event.
The EMA also congratulated promoters of Carnival events who adhere to the NPCR and cause minimal disruption to nearby residents.