Kilifi club owners lament stringent noise control regulations

The government has been urged to reconsider the limitation on noise levels in entertainment spots in Kilifi County.

Club owners said they have been counting losses since authorities started enforcing the 35-decibel limit to control of noise pollution.

Most clubs in the county operate in the open and beach parties are held every week.

Jackson Maina, the general manager of Paparemo Beach Cub in Watamu, said by following the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) laws, the club owners has lost business running into millions of shillings.

“Insisting on 35 decibels has cost us a lot... we have stock, we have staff to pay and we shall be killing tourism. We urge the county government to consider reviewing this,” he said.

According to Nema, any noise above 35 decibels is considered noise pollution. Many club operators in the county have been arrested and their premises closed by county officials with the most affected towns being Mtwapa and Malindi.

The general manager of Rosada Beach resort in Malindi said many customers canceled bookings due to the low music volumes and the impromptu raids by county county officials.

“I am not happy because since the patrols started, tourists have been running away from our premises and this is affecting our operations. We have been receiving calls from outside the country from tourists who used to come to Malindi because of the beach parties, but are now unwilling to come if the music levels are down,” she added.

David Kubasu who runs a chain of open-air entertainment joints in Malindi town wondered why the County Assembly of Kilifi could not come up with laws that can boost local businesses.

“We are borrowing wholesale laws that were formulated in Nairobi without considering our own specific circumstances. We cannot assume laws that apply in Kiambu County are applicable in Kilifi County,” he added.

He also dismissed suggestions by Nema and county officials that the premises should be sound-proofed.

“Sound-proofing this open air joints will be costly and this will force many if not all of us to close shop. I can imagine a beach party being sound-proofed,” he added.

They were speaking during a forum organised by Kilifi County Government’s Environment department in Malindi town on Wednesday.

Plan Group of Hotels General Manager Alexandarer Zissimatos wondered why community leaders were not invited to the meeting to give their views.

Jamal Sheikh said Kilifi should emulate Mombasa and Kwale counties where loud music is allowed in beach parties.

“Malindi is run by noise and that is what sustains the local economy and hence limiting noise in the town will drive away revelers and investors,” he said.

Environment department chief officer Mariam Jenneby said since there are no county by-laws on noise regulation, the business people have no option but to comply with the Nema laws.

“My stand is that for now we do not have any other alternative and we shall stand with the Nema laws that say that the noise shall not exceed 35 decibels. But in future we need to come and sit with stakeholders and involve them in public participation and develop the Kilifi County noise regulations,” she said.

She also said religious activities will not be spared in the crackdown on noise pollution and defaulters risks fines not exceeding Sh4 million.

“When we talk about noise pollution it is anything that produces noise and it doesn’t matter if it is a hotel, a bar or a religious event,” she added.

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County Assembly of KilifiNemaNational Environment Management Authority