Mon, Oct 16, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA to reduce standard noise level for protests and parades due to complaints

By Chung Li-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman speaks into a megaphone during a demonstration calling for President Chen Shui-bian's resignation last Tuesday.

PHOTO: EPA

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will amend the Noise Control Act (噪音管制法) to lower the maximum level of noise permitted during protests and parades by 10 to 15 decibels.

The amendment will allow the administration to not only measure the sound generated through loud speakers and megaphones, it will also measure the sound from trumpets or sirens used at outdoor gatherings.

Meanwhile, the noise that can be heard in public places surrounding protest and parade areas, such as hospitals or schools, will also be monitored.

The amendment came following hundreds of complaints from residents who believe their lives have been seriously disrupted by the numerous rallies to oppose or support President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in recent months.

According to administration officials, the Act stipulates that the measurement be conducted at a distance of 3m from the source of the noise.

However, the crowds at the recent rallies have prevented inspectors from carrying out their jobs, thereby making it difficult to issue warnings.

The administration said that the Department of Environmental Protection in Taipei has measured the level of noise at National Taiwan University Hospital and schools located around the protest area.

The officials found that the noise detected in all these places had exceeded the standard level, but they could not bring charges against the protest organizers because the measurements were conducted beyond the stipulated range.

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