Officials should do more to reduce the noise pollution caused by motorbikes and vehicles in residential and tourist areas in Qatar, the Central Municipal Council (CMC) has said.
During their regular meeting today, members urged the Ministry of Interior (MOI), which oversees the Traffic Department, to increase police patrols in residential areas and on popular roads.
They said that these officers should especially monitor late-night “joy-rides” taken by young residents and coordinate with vehicle inspection and maintenance outlets to crack down on those who amplify the sound of their vehicles.
They also recommended the use of advanced radar systems to detect violations and reduce such incidences as much as possible to preserve the beauty of Qatar’s tourist sites and encourage more people to visit them.
Such technology is already being used in the UAE, according to the report issued by CMC’s internal legal committee.
These devices automatically measure the intensity of the sound emitted by a passing vehicle, and then takes a photo of the vehicle and license plate if it’s above the legal limit. Violators are then fined.
The proposal was submitted by CMC member Sheikha Al-Jufairi, who said young people disturb the peace when their cars emit smoke, which harms the environment and irritates others, and when they play deafeningly loud music in their vehicles.
CMC member Jassim bin Abdullah al Maliki added the problem is difficult to fix from the vehicle inspection end because owners often wait until right after their annual maintenance checks to enhance their cars.
Al Maliki said the biggest nuisance is caused in residential areas, where people struggle to get sleep or go about their daily routine as a result of the noise.
This issue is particularly near and dear to some residents of the Pearl-Qatar, who have long expressed noise and safety concerns due to joy-riders in their neighborhoods.
The island’s management has previously taken several steps to reduce sound pollution in response to the complaints.
For example, the Pearl’s security previously banned motorbikes that don’t belong to residents from entering the island at all hours of the day.
And in January, it announced the opening of a police station that was supposed to curb reckless behavior.
However, the problem of excessive noise persists, according to many residents.
Although there are many laws in Qatar against sound pollution, the practice still continues, in part because some young residents are eager to show off their sports cars and motorbikes, CMC members said.
During this morning’s meeting, Al-Jufairi cited article 58 of Law No. 19 of 2007, which states that :
”No vehicle may be driven on the road that makes irritating noises or emits dense smoke or smells, or releases a flammable substance that affects the safety of the road or is harmful to public health or the environment. In all cases, the vehicle must be equipped with an appropriate silencer.”
She added that it is also against the law to install devices that enhance the sound of the vehicle.
The penalties in place for violators are harsh, but rarely implemented, and include imprisonment of one month to up to three years or a fine of QR10,000 to QR50,000.