Diani bars, liquor stores branded ‘noise makers’

A decibel meter which measures sound levels. Residents of the resort town of Diani in Kwale County are up in arms over noise pollution from nightclubs and other entertainment joints.


Photo credit: Siago Cece I Nation Media Group

Residents of the resort town of Diani in Kwale County are up in arms over noise pollution from nightclubs and other entertainment joints.

Under the South Coast Residents Association, they want action to be taken against the establishments, some of which they claim operate without licences.

The residents also want the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to add more staff in Kwale County to address the noise.

In a letter seen by Nation.Africa, the association’s chairperson, Dr Stan Kinsch, wants strict enforcement of the laws on noise pollution.

“We would request you to explore the possibility of delegating noise-related issues regarding bars, restaurants and clubs to the Diani Municipality,” said Dr Kinsch.

Residents say loud music played late into the night is affecting owners of holiday homes or hotels where their visitors want peace.

One of them, who requested anonymity, said they had an ageing sick parent in the house who had found it difficult to sleep.

“We are always trying to put her to sleep but then the bass from clubs nearby are usually too loud. Sometimes I even have to increase the volume of my television so that I cannot hear them,” he said.

Residents claim bars and liquor stores are mushrooming near residential areas.

“There is always a new joint opening every week. Liquor stores are also being opened and apart from selling alcohol, they also allow buyers to drink from the shop while playing loud music. We are worried about the situation,” said Cristine Mutai*.

The number of temporary bars on roadsides or at the beach has also increased, the association says.

The group has about 300 members living in the coastal strip of Kwale County.

Some of them originally came to Diani as tourists and decided to settle there with their families.

They warned that if action is not taken, more entrants will be breaking the law, bringing discomfort to the traditionally peaceful town. This will also reduce the number of tourists visiting Diani who want to stay in quiet places, they said.

They asked the Kwale County government to ensure that Diani gets a new physical plan that will distinguish residential areas from commercial areas.

They also complained about loud noise from churches and mosques located near their homes.

Neman Kwale boss Godfrey Wafula said that after they received the complaints, the agency and the county government mapped noise hotspots and issued them with warning notices.

“Even though noise is now devolved and it is the county government who should be dealing with that, we are working together with them so that we ensure that this problem is solved,'' he said.

He added that they had begun arresting the perpetrators and some cases are ongoing in court.

Mr Wafula blamed the situation on the poor planning of Diani, adding that a zoning plan is being developed that will distinguish residential properties from business establishments and places of worship.

He also said they are organising a meeting between Nema, county officials, the police, the residents’ association, religious leaders and business operators.

“We cannot keep on going to court. The best way will be to have a joint meeting so that we can address the matter and the bar and club owners will find a solution to either reduce the noise or get soundproof walls.

Meanwhile, Mr Wafula has asked residents to report any noise pollution issues to the environment office of the county government where three inspection officers have been trained.

He added that Nema would then take action if nothing is done in that office.

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