MPs want night prayers banned over noise pollution

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Hon John Byabagambi says people who shout the whole night in the name of prayer and make noise for those who are supposed to be resting should be controlled as they pollute the environment.

The Cabinet Minister for Karamoja Affairs was speaking Wednesday during the debate on the National Environment Bill, 2017.

The Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah who was presiding, guided the House that prayer is not the problem but shouting is the issue.

“The focus is on noise and any form of noise that disturbs the peace. The only thing is there must be a complainant,” Oulanyah told the house.

Clause 105 of the National Environment Bill, 2015 provides for standards for the control of effects of vibration and pollution caused by noise.

The committee is proposing taking measurement of the levels of noise emanating from all sources.

Hon Keefa Kiwanuka, the Chairperson of Natural Resources Committee, said a clean and sustainable environment is a basic human and one that every person has a right to and a responsibility to ensure for future generations

Clause 3 mirrors the constitutional provision and further mandates every Ugandan to create, maintain and enhance the environment, including the duty to prevent pollution.

The Committee observes that protection should extend to all persons living in Uganda.

For a very long time, laws have only been permitting hence treating nature a property.

For the right to a clean and healthy environment to be guaranteed, the environment should be recognized as a right holding entity.

The Committee recommends that giving nature legal rights means the law recognizes “nature” as a legal person, thus creating rights that can then be enforced.

The Committee observes that the National Environment Fund should support direct environment activities for example sub clause (2) (d) requires the Fund to support the Functions of the Environmental Tribunal.

The Committee observes that whereas government has since the 2015/16 imposed 50% environment levy on second hand products especially cars, this has been collected by the URA and remitted to the Consolidated Fund instead of the National Environment Fund.

He said 30% of environment levy should be earmarked to support environmental restoration.

“The National Environment Fund should be used for activities related to sustainable use of natural resources and critical environmental restoration activities.”

According to Hon Rose Mutonyi, there are many hotels that have been built along the river banks.

“Some of these hotels are probably owned by the ministers or top government officials. Where is the political will to save the environment?” she noted.

The objective of the National Environment Bill 2017 is to repeal and replace the National Environment Act to make it conform with the existing government policies, to continue in existence the NEMA established under that act.

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