Kenya’s environmental watchdog on Wednesday raided four night clubs in Nairobi over noise pollution and served them with notices of closure.
The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) inspectors stormed the lavish Kiza Lounge, B-Club, Space Lounge and Jiweke Tavern in a bid to check on their sound proofing systems after complaints from neighbours concerning loud music.
Nema inspectors accompanied by police officers served the managements of the night clubs with the notice of closure, rendering the entertainment facilities immediately closed until they address the concerns raised by the authority.
“The Authority has received numerous noise complaints from members of the public caused by extreme loud music from your facility that interferes with their comfort, health and safety contrary to the provisions of Environmental Management and Coordination Act CAP 387 and the Noise and Excessive Vibration Pollution Control regulations of 2009,” the letter date January 10, and signed by Nema director general Professor Geoffrey Wahungu reads in part.
The raid occurred between 10pm and midnight with the Nema inspectors ordering for an immediate closure of the night clubs until it is satisfied that they are complaint.
“Ideally, if you have to use a sound amplifying equipment you must have soundproof but there is no evidence of such measures. Therefore, we will serve you with a notice of closure that requires you to close with immediate effect but you can write to us for recourse,” said one of the inspectors leading the raid.
However, drama unfolded at Space Lounge when the club’s staff refused to receive the order arguing that it was only the manager who should receive and sign the closure order.
This happened following attempts by the Nema team to have one of the staff append his signature on the document. The inspector were forced to pin the document on the wall of the facility.
A spot check by the Nairobi News on Thursday established that three of the clubs had complied with the Nema order and were not in operation except for Space Lounge where operation was going on as usual with the staff and customers going about their business.
Our attempts to reach the management at Space Lounge for a comment were futile as we were told that no one was available.
At Kiza Lounge and Restaurant, folded chairs stuck together, an empty floor without customers and only the feint humming of a refrigerator welcomed us to the premise.
The managing director Ali Oumarou confirmed receipt of the closure order and immediate compliance but complained of ‘witch hunt’.
He claimed that his facility was complaint as it had a 2.2mm soundproof glass, no windows to let out noise and use of bose model speakers that do not emit sound beyond five metres.
“I can confirm that I signed the document from Nema and my lawyer is already working on our reply to them. That’s all,” said Oumarou.
At B-Club, the premise was locked with a big silver chain welcoming us at the entry to the facility.