Following grievances lodged by residents, Bole District Environment Protection Authority shut down 14 nightclubs in the Gerji, area accusing them of creating noise pollution.
The district revoked the licenses of 14 nightclubs effective November 2, 2018. Residents of the area gathered and submitted a petition with 126 signatures on June 16, 2018, claiming that the clubs are causing disturbances by creating excessively loud sounds. The residents also accused the clubs of being a cause of security problems in the area, including robbery and other crimes.
“We have been receiving grievances from the residents since 2012,” said Asrat Zelalem, environmental protection inspection officer at the district’s Authority.
The Authority conducted an inspection of the businesses measuring the decibels generated, according to Asrat.
“After the inspection, we found that they are creating loud sounds beyond the standard limit of 45 decibels, the maximum limit in residential areas,” Asrat told Fortune. “We had served them with warning letters to reduce the loud sounds generated by the clubs.”
During a second inspection carried out seven days later, the businesses were found to have not complied with the standard and lost their licenses to operate, according to Birhanu Zerabruk, head of Bole District Trade Bureau.
Most of the clubs registered 80 decibels or higher of sound during the inspection. The highest decibel level created was 87 decibels by Icon Bar, and the lowest was Sitotaw Bar, which recoded 75 decibels.
The District reported the violations to the city’s Culture & Tourism Bureau, which certified the businesses, and the Trade Bureau, which issued the business licenses.
Along with the 14 clubs, the Authority also served warning letters to seven other clubs suspected of noise pollution.
Disagreeing with the decision to revoke their licenses, 10 clubs have filed civil cases in the courts, according to Helen Tafesse, owner of one of the clubs, Platinum Nightclub, which opened two years ago.
“They didn’t serve us with a second warning letter,” Helen told Fortune. “The office just shut down our business.”
This year, the environmental office of the city administration closed 20 nightclubs within the city, most of them located in Bole District, Summit area.
Messay Mulugeta, assistant professor for socio-economic development and environmental study, applauds the action of the Authority and listed the health problems noise pollution could cause.
“Noise pollution can affect IQ and cause stress,” said Messay. “In upholding the interest of the community, the Authority’s action in this regard is commendable.”
Messay also said the license revocation could have an economic impact on the business owners and recommends that the businesses relocate to the commercial area away from residential areas.