HCMC to end karaoke noise pollution this year

By Huu Cong   March 9, 2021 | 05:30 am PT
HCMC to end karaoke noise pollution this year
A man sings karaoke via a portable set at a street-side restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City's Go Vap District in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Binh.
The HCMC administration said Tuesday it plans to end noise pollution caused by karaoke services this year, beginning with an awareness campaign.

Vo Van Hoan, deputy chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, said the awareness raising campaign would last until May as the first phase of the task, which would include completing legal policies to deal with noise violations.

"This phase would not involve fining people, just making them be more aware of the issue," he said, adding that apartments should not allow karaoke services as their living spaces are small and the noise would affect more people.

The second phase, from June until the end of the year, would involve fining noise violations in accordance with existing regulations on the issue, Hoan said, adding that the city aims to solve the problem by the end of the year.

A government decree issued in 2013 imposes a fine for causing "loud noises, making noises, or commotion in residential areas or public places between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m." National environmental standards allow a maximum noise threshold in normal areas like apartments, houses, offices and hotels of 70 dBA from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 55 dBA from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day.

Nguyen Thi Thanh My, deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, said noise pollution in the city is mainly caused by karaoke services, bars, dance clubs or malls. While there are fines for causing noise pollution, they are too paltry to deter violations, and can only be applied if violations happen within certain time frames, she added.

Other challenges that the city faces include the requirement of noise measurement equipment approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the citizens’ own efforts to evade fines, like reducing noise levels when authorities come to check.

The department has requested the municipal People’s Committee to adopt new measures to resolve noise pollution in the city, like increasing the fines and expanding the time frame for levying them.

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