Vientiane authorities have issued updated regulations governing noise pollution, following a Decision issued in January.
The legal framework for suppression of noise pollution is an important tool in the mitigation of noise pollution, which leads to social problems and remains a source of disruption for residents, particularly at night.
The new Decision on Noise Pollution Control in Vientiane Capital, issued by the Mayor of Vientiane Capital on Tuesday, governs appropriate levels of noise caused by entertainment venues, festivals and events, fireworks, vehicles, construction work, machinery, and domestic dogs.
The Decision on Noise Pollution Control consists of seven sections and 30 articles
Under the Decision, entertainment venues, both indoor or outdoor, must ensure noise remains under 80 decibels (dB) and must close by 23:30 at night.
Festivals and events must also ensure noise levels do not exceed 80 dB.
Fireworks and firecrackers are fully prohibited, with the Decision stating that the use of such items is not a traditional custom of Laos and can pose a danger to the community. The import and sale of fireworks or firecrackers are also illegal. Those caught selling, purchasing, or using firecrackers can be fined or even imprisoned.
Sound originating from vehicles, such as cars and buses, must comply with vehicle technical standards, and noise levels produced by vehicles must not exceed 85 dB.
Construction work may not exceed 70 dB, while factories and machinery located near residential communities may commence operation from 7:00 to 22:00, maintaining a noise level under 70 dB. At night time factories may operate from 22:00 to 7:00, not exceeding 55 dB.
Under the regulations, dog owners must take good care of their animals and should ensure they do not howl or bark continually, causing a public nuisance.
Those raising other domestic animals, including chickens, must ensure the sound of the animals does not disturb neighbors, otherwise, they may face prosecution.
The physical and mental health effects of noise pollution are well documented, with the World Health Organization (WHO) noting that in developing countries, not only occupational noise but also environmental noise is an increasing risk factor for hearing impairment.
Noise pollution has remained one of the biggest concerns by residents of Vientiane Capital, which has a population estimated at over 800,000.