Nairobi CBD traders face music over noise

City Hall
City Hall. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Promoters and marketers who use loudspeakers in Nairobi’s central business district should be warned.

This is after a judge gave orders directing the Nairobi County Government and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to arrest and prosecute any person “causing noise pollution for marketing purposes”.

Justice Kossy Bor further directed the county government and Nema to enforce the Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Noise and Excessive Vibration Pollution) (Control) Regulations.

The judge said the authorities should ensure there is no “unreasonable noise and vibration noise pollution emitted into the environment from any source within the county, which may interfere with the comfort, repose, health or safety of members of the public”.

The judge made the decision in a case filed by two lawyers, who accused an Airtel shop on Kenyatta Avenue of emitting excessive noise, “disturbing” their peace.


Ali Hassan Haji and Fred Athuok filed the case in 2016 accusing Dixons Electronics Limited of playing “loud, annoying and offensive music,” which interfered with their comfort and health.

The two lawyers argued that the noise emanating from the shop at Phoenix House on Kenyatta Avenue amount to hawking within the CBD, which is prohibited by regulations under the EMCA.

They said the noise adversely affected the work environment for offices in the city centre, yet the county government and Nemafailed in their duty to control the noise pollution caused by the shop, despite making a complaint to them.

The advocates, who operate from Hughes Building on Kenyatta Avenue, commissioned a survey of the noise and in a report prepared by Mr Moses Mutungi Muthee, a Nema-registered lead expert, indicated that the noise levels emanating from the shop was beyond 60dB (A) which is the maximum permissible level for commercial zones.

The report shows that between February 2, 2017 and February 5, 2018, measurements were taken from the advocates’ offices and the readings recorded ranged from 76.7 to 84.7 dB(A). It was noted that shop had not been granted a permit by Nema to emit noise in excess of the set standards.