Gone are the days when religious activities were confined to the Church auditorium or chapel in reverence to God.
It is common now, to find self-acclaimed mobile preachers in the markets and on the streets, evangelising, interlaced with loud songs.
Whether true men of God or pretentious preachers, these self acclaimed evangelists, use loud speakers and other instruments to propagate their message, increasing the already noisy environment in the markets, thereby contributing to noise pollution.
In this feature, GBC’s Rudolph Nandi, reports that outdoor preaching, particularly at the market place and vantage points in the cities, has gained prominence in recent times. It is simply bringing the word of God to the doorstep of the people.
Their messages are generally unscripted and spontaneous, compared to what happens in churches, where sermons and services are done using the liturgy. These self acclaimed ministers of the gospel mount their speakers in the markets or on the streets of markets to carry their message afar, with such ear deafening noise, worsening the already noise polluted environment.
Noise has become a norm in almost all urban centres, as a result of growth in commercial, industrial and social activities. Some of these self acclaimed men of God have certification from the AMA and EPA, both regulators of ambient noise levels.
It is early morning at the Makola market where I met a Pastor busily setting up his instruments to start the day’s preaching, and indeed his work. Interacting with him, he dispelled the notion, that outdoor or marketplace preachers, preach the gospel as a means of earning income, although they manage to make some money at the end of the day.
Experts believe that high noise levels in excess of 90 decibels can cause loss of hearing and irreversible changes in the nervous system.
But is the market the right place to propagate the gospel?
The District Pastor of the Church of Pentecost, Russia Worship Centre in Accra, Frank Owusu-Amoah believes there is no designated place to win souls for Christ. The World Health Organisation, has pegged as safe noise level for a city, 45 decibels Predominant commercial areas in the country, are required under the law on pollution to produce noise levels of below 70 decibels during the day, and 65 at night for permissible ambient.
The question is, whose responsibility is it to ensure the enforcement of the Act on noise making?
Outdoor or street preachers are not the only ones who flout the law on noise pollution, as it is almost impossible to have a good night sleep in parts of urban residential areas, due to activities of drinking spots and bars to woo customers. Hawkers, drivers at lorry stations and indeed many of us, are guilty of this.
Attempts to get the EPA to comment on their role on the issue proved futile as they asked the news team to write letters to them before they grant an interview.