Local April 12, 2023 | 8:09 am

Dominican Republic authorities seek to modify environmental regulations to address sonic pollution

The Dominican Republic authorities are seeking to modify environmental regulations on protection against noise to adapt laws and norms to the country’s current environments and realities. The goal is to attack sonic pollution, which harms the quality of life of citizens. According to María del Carmen Vargas, head of the Social Participation Directorate of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry is focusing on verifying decibel levels and the hours of noise allowed. The updates to the regulations will provide the authorities with the necessary instruments to regulate noise in areas such as construction sites and warehouses where trucks make a lot of noise when entering or leaving, causing problems in communities.

The Environmental Standard for Protection against Noise, a document developed by the Ministry 20 years ago, allowed for decibels equivalent to normal conversation. However, the Vice Minister of Environmental Management, Indhira de Jesús, said that these decibels are outdated and need to be updated to reflect current standards.

Mixed land use is prevalent in the National District, which is home to both industries and residential areas, causing a significant inconvenience. With the modifications to the regulations, the authorities aim to ensure that permits granted by the Town Halls comply with the Ministry’s regulations.

Citizens can file noise complaints by contacting the Green Line of the Ministry, and the complaints are then forwarded to the Specialized Environment Attorney, who is responsible for sanctioning noise pollution crimes. The Ministry accompanies the Attorney General’s Office in the technical aspect, as the latter does not have the technical expertise or equipment, such as sound level meters, to investigate and monitor noise pollution cases over long periods of time.

The modification of the environmental regulations is a step in the right direction towards ensuring the quality of life of citizens and protecting the environment. By updating the regulations and providing the authorities with the necessary tools, the Dominican Republic can better regulate noise pollution and reduce its impact on communities.

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Paul Tierney
April 12, 2023 8:34 am

Suggesting the proposed modifications would apply to areas of the general public.

Will these modifications seek to restrain hotels and resorts from over amplification of their entertainment noise or allow them more latitude to make noise over long hours to annoy nearby residential zones? The tourism sector always seems to get a waiver from regulations because it is the country’s cash cow.

JD Jones
April 12, 2023 8:46 am

Sound level meters can be installed as free apps on smart phones these days.