Problems of environmental noise pollution in Lusaka schools
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This study is an ethical evaluation of problems of environmental noise pollution in four school areas in M‘tendere in Lusaka, i.e., Mahatma Gandhi, Old M‘tendere, New M‘tendere and Chitukuko Basic Schools. The study arose from the researcher‘s observation regarding the increase in aggressive behaviours from children that live in peri-urban areas where noise pollution is more prevalent. Due to non-existence of laws of country planning in these areas, there is rampant encroachment on many school areas and residential houses by taverns, bars, welding workshops and many other unplanned business ventures that produce deafening noise at most times. Noise from these economic ventures has become a serious environmental problem to the health of both adults and school-going children (Goines and Hagler 2006). The main objectives of the study were to establish the problems of environmental noise pollution that influenced behaviour and the effective learning abilities of pupils in these schools and to ethically evaluate the issue of environmental noise pollution in the indicated school areas. The study adopted qualitative methodology that involved the use of mixed research, consisting of an empirical part and an ethical analysis part. Data was collected using a questionnaire administered to the 80 pupils in the same schools and interviews with parents, teachers, businessmen and two officials, each from Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Lusaka City Council Public Health Department. Many problems of environmental noise pollution were elicited from data that was collected. Decreased academic concentration and comprehension ability, decreased motivation and attention span, deterioration of hearing loss, high pitched speech stimulation and exhibition of aggressive behaviour towards one another in terms of perceived mistake made were some of the problems established from the findings of the study. A comparative analysis of the numbers of pupils that sat for final examinations with those that failed in each of the previous three years, reflected low academic performance of children in the studied areas of M‘tendere. The ethical evaluation used a contemporary version of Utilitarianism and ruleutilitarianism, the Precautionary Principle and selected Human Rights to come up with an ethical evaluation stance of noise pollution for the Government and the people in these noise prone areas to consider. The arguments posed conflicting interests between the demands for a serene learning environment that promotes the learning and health of pupils, against the socio-economic pursuits of business entrepreneurs. Yet the overall ethical evaluation concluded that noise pollution was a factor that negatively affected the school-going children and influenced their socio-emotional development and learning ability in schools. Finally, the study made five recommendations. Among them are the legislation against noise pollution, the introduction of insulation policy of classrooms in noise prone areas and a more serious consideration of the inner most body environment of the people themselves, should be among the primary things to consider in all what is done for the sustenance of healthy bodies and minds.
The University of Zambia