Anti-noise crusaders' Facebook profile photo. Anti-noise crusaders' slogan is 'For the right to sleep.' Facebook

Jalisco municipality fights noise pollution

And a state congressman is proposing new anti-noise legislation

High noise levels in Mexico are as common as tacos and beer, but that may be changing in some places.

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An anti-noise campaign that began in June in Zapopan, Jalisco, has so far resulted in the permanent closure of 35 businesses that exceeded noise limits established by the municipality.

Another nine have been fined, as well as the owner of a noisy house.

The administration of Mayor Jesús Pablo Lemus Navarro reports that given the number of commercial establishments located in the neighborhood of Chapalita, that part of the city is by far the worst in terms of noise pollution.

“We started a month ago and we have seen a lot of progress in raising awareness among the residents,” the municipal director of inspection and security told the newspaper El Informador.

“Nevertheless, we still have a lot to do,” said Tatiana Anaya Zúñiga.

Her staff performs routine rounds using calibrated decibel meters to verify that establishments such as bars, restaurants, night clubs, schools, gyms, religious centers and other venues comply with the regulations.

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Not only are the noise emissions of commercial establishments more tightly regulated, but the mayor has announced that his administration will also attempt to regulate the use of fireworks in religious and private celebrations, another major contributor to excessive noise.

Meanwhile, state Deputy Augusto Valencia López, who says noise is an issue mainly because the fines are too low, has proposed state-wide anti-noise legislation that has the support of a small group of citizens calling themselves the Crusade Against Noise in Guadalajara.

Although the group has only about 20 members, its Facebook page, where it publishes video clips of noisy Guadalajara venues, counts 21,776 likes.

Its slogan is “For the right to sleep” and its purpose is promote a new culture regarding noise, new regulations and punishment for lawbreakers. Spokesman Alberto García says it wants to see stiffer penalties and new inspection procedures and limits on noise that conform to international standards.

The local branch of Canirac, the national chamber of restaurants, is among those who have been included in discussions on the new legislation.

Jalisco Canirac chairman Sergio Jaime Santos said his industry is willing to support the proposal if the enforcement process is phased in. He also wants the economic activity generated by the industry to be taken into account.

“We ask [proponents of the law] to be sensible, because we generate [income] not only for us but for many families that depend directly on jobs in the industry.”

Source: El Informador (sp)

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  • Greg Thompson

    exterminate 80 percent of the dogs would be a good start

    • Francis Gallant

      I sort of agree with you but how about educating the idiot dog owners or at least fining them.

  • Sharon

    I am glad to see an article like this – WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY MUSIC HAS TO BE SO LOUD. When we ask people they say well it is fiesta or that is the way it is. I wish I had a hearing aid store, because I would be rich. The Laws should be enforced all over the country – many people are afraid to call the police for fear of retaliation. There is no need to have music so loud that it can be heard blocks away. When we had a party here, the police patrolled by no less than 3 times in 4 hours – you could not even hear our music at the street, and we shut down by 11PM.

    We need a group like this here in San Carlos, Sonora. We have party noise until 2 – 3 in the AM every weekend.
    ALL the bars and restaurants have music that is too loud. Most times the wait staff cannot even hear your order. It damages hearing and I feel bad especially for babies and children. To me there is nothing sadder than seeing people sitting at a party, not even talking to each other. What is the point of having music so loud that the whole neighbourhood has to hear it. I have A-fib and loud bass can cause me to have an attack – do you think I like calling Rescate all the time – even they cannot get the police to do anything about it.

    We walk downtown in Guaymas and many stores have loud music coming from speakers outside. In WalMart, and Sams Club there is at least 4-5 different types of music or movies from electronics, PLUS the overhead music and the constant announcements over the top of that yet. Ley, Home Depot and others are just as bad. I have very bad tinnitus and have to wear ear plugs in all these places. It makes me not even want to shop there.

    We are constantly having to call the police every weekend to have party noise turned down, most of the time they pretend not to understand what we are saying, (my Spanish is not that bad). Sometimes they do not come out, even if they do, the party is quiet for a bit and then right back to full volume, so we have to call again – after a while they just do not answer the phone – that is ignorant. The police here are so poorly equipped they do not even have decibel meters.

    I will say this past Sunday morning – for the first time ever – they did respond when we called at 8AM about a party house that had been going on the night before. It was about 3 blocks from our place and it sounded like it was in our front yard. We never got to sleep until 3AM, so we were not happy about being woken up that early.

    • JRG

      NThese noise laws are Federal and implemented some time ago. http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle_popup.php?codigo=5324105

    • Francis Gallant

      Things like this have been accepted for so long that it is tolerated as the norm. It’s pure moronic and I am being polite in my expression in relation to words I could use.

    • Get silicone earplugs. Really. I live a block and a half from a big plaza where bone-breaking concerts are held about eight times a year. Used to bother me, but not anymore. I stuff silicone plugs into my ears, and sleep like a baby. No joke. Gotta be the good silicone ones, however. None of the rubber or foam rubber ones will work nearly so well. They’ve been a lifesaver, so to speak.

      • Vernon King

        Agreed but any earplugs are better than none. After a while (years) I kinda got use to all the noise roosters and dogs but do understand how others do not get use to it all. I am lucky. We live on the side of a hill so we hear 50 KM worth of noise. We never got use to the rockets as they go off at the same level of the house. We feel the rockets have got bigger over the years. We had them go off 20 ft from us when we lived near the plaza. We need quiet hours at least during the week. Not trying to be a gringo grinch but the rockets are so so loud.

      • Francis Gallant

        Yes, ear plugs, of course, will be a suggestion. But if I live in México you are saying I have to stuff my ears every night for the rest of my life??? Not the most impressive solution. Moving to another country is not the most convenient suggestion. For me it would probably have to be another Latin American place to be affordable. I have a very strong impression that they all need to be educated on noise level.

        • Señor Gallant, the degree of racket you face depends very much on your exact location. Some spots — I think they are the minority — are noisy all the time. Others — like where I live, thank God. Pure luck — not as much. My wife and I use earplugs during the eight or so colossally loud concerts on our nearby plaza. We also use them on rare occasion when the immediate neighbors go berserk, but that’s not too common.

          It’s a crapshoot, all of it.

          I’ve never lived in another Latino nation, but I suspect the noise phenomenon exists all over Latin America. I doubt it’s specifically a Mexican thing. But maybe it is. As for “educating them on the noise level,” good luck with imposing your foreign value system here. They will nod, say sure, and do nothing. That includes the cops.

          • Francis Gallant

            Yes, Señor Zapata. Your last two sentences are what I am well aware of. “As for “educating them on the noise level,” good luck with imposing your foreign value system here. They will nod, say sure, and do nothing. That includes the cops.” And yes, you are correct about location – an almost impossible task! It gave me some satisfaction to find out that there are other people bothered by this fact of noise.

          • Other people bothered by the noise? Good Lord, we are legion. Even Mexicans, though they know better than to complain most of the time. They know it will do no good whatsoever, and they will be thought grumpy by their neighbors. Nobody wants that.

            One interesting element: I moved to the middle of Mexico 17 years ago. For a good many years the racket phenomenon drove me nuts. I think as much as the noise itself, I was angry at the fact that people would actually get up at 5:30 a.m. and start explosions. I could not get my mind around it. It offended me, actually. How could they? was my mindset. It seemed rude beyond belief. And it is.

            Now, however, except for the occasional 200-decibel concert on the nearby plaza which I fight with silicone earplugs, when the folks down the street fire cohetes at dawn, I might not even wake up, and if I do, I just roll over and go right back to sleep. You do get used to it. I imagine all native Mexicans are used to it. It’s just part of the landscape, so to speak.

          • CentralAmericano

            I live in Guatemala, moved here 4 years ago. Those of you living in Mexico, you are not alone. We here in Guatemala experience many of the same exact problems you are all talking about (stores blaring loud music, dogs barking, construction at all hours + zero enforcement of any laws). It’s awful. If you find a peaceful, quiet place in Latin America let me know. Every place I’ve found that LOOKS peaceful quickly becomes almost unlivable due to noise pollution within a few years, as more people move in.

          • How right you are. This issue is not specifically Mexican. It’s the Latino culture. I wonder if it’s the same in those few South American places that have lots of European influence. Argentina, for instance.

  • Pete Larson

    Well Greg, that would be a good start but I’d suggest about 99% for Chihuahuas.

  • Jerry Freed

    I wish there had been anti-noise regulations for the fifteen years I lived in Mexico. A good night’s sleep was always hard to come by the worst was the barking dogs, but far too often loud parties going on until 5:00 in the morning on any given night were the most annoying. Loved the country, hated the noise.

  • Lannie Loeks

    Round up the roosters!

  • Oh, Lord, let this notion spread across the country.

  • There is a very strict Standard for noise pollution in Mexico, NOM-081-SEMARNAT-1993 that limits the exterior noise businesses can emit to 65 decibels during the day and 55 at night, but it is not enforced enough. Semarnat is the agency to report this or you can report it to “Reglamentación” in the Municipio, but enforcement varies in the Municipios.

  • Graham Butler

    Francis and Felipe have pretty much covered the common sense approach to such an enormous and cultural issue. But everyone has missed one of the most offensive contributors of all. And likewise, this depends on your location. The noise emitted from all forms of transportation in this area. I say this area, because we have traveled to other cities and states in Mexico, and it simply isn’t the same everywhere. We live on the side of a mountain overlooking Lake Chapala. The view is breathtaking. The noise level, twenty four hours a day, is unbelievable. Almost all of the trucks and buses run without mufflers, as do the motorcycles, and some cars. The cars use noise producing mufflers so that you can hear them coming and going, for miles. I have learned a tremendous amount about how noise travels since living in this location. Large trucks are a weapon of noise in the hands of a Mexican. The combination of no mufflers and the use of the engine break, (jake break), will just destroy the tranquility of a beautiful morning or a good sleep at three in the morning. When truck traffic is heavy, you would think you were living in a major construction zone, rather than a beautiful development overlooking the lake. I try not to use the word except when necessary, but there is simply an element of stupid that is wrapped up in this culture when it comes to noise. The word selfish also applies. Because we also are subject to the noise neighbors who like to party until four or five in the morning. I am amazed to see rich Mexicans, who will build a multi million dollar home, for a weekend party house. So the kids and friends come to use the house for a party weekend. And your only option is a major confrontation with the offenders, which we have done, because you will get no help from the police. And the rich Mexicans feel that there are no rules that apply to them.
    Again, it depends so much on your location. The culture is what it is. Changing it to an degree simply isn’t going to happen. But I certainly support the efforts of these organizations for trying. GOOD LUCK.

    • CentralAmericano

      Hi Graham. I am an expat living in Guatemala – I live with an amazing view of the mountains and volcanoes, the scenery is just beautiful. But like you, the noise is a real problem here. We have a lot of what I like to call “needless noise” here. By that, I mean that much of the noise isn’t produced by something that needs to be done – it’s something that can be stopped, but nobody seems to care. Barking dogs left alone in yards for days, firecrackers, and local stores and tiendas blaring promotional music…these are noises that do not need to exist. Irresponsible dog owners should be fined for cruelty/neglect, firecrackers should be regulated, and stores that blast music should simply be asked by a local law enforcement agency to turn down the volume. The problem is that there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO ENFORCEMENT when it comes to laws of all kinds, let alone noise complaints. If you were to file a complaint about the noise here, you’d be laughed out of the police office. I had hoped things would change, but if anything the noise just gets worse and worse. The more noise we tolerate, the more noise is produced. I think the phenomenon is due to the “new rich” here in Latin America – people with lots of money, who haven’t had the time to learn how to properly respect neighbors in a decent society. I hate to phrase it like that because it sounds crass, but it’s true. I also wish the best to all of these organizations but as long as the authorities in Mexico and Central America continue to sit on their hands as people destroy land and environment, the worse things will get. I am guessing we’re 50 years away, at least, from things quieting down.

  • kallen

    I’m all for this but like all things in the Mexican legal code, its a matter of enforcement. Sadly, most things are not enforced as there is little rule of law. Still, I hope this spreads and I would also add light pollution to the noise pollution issue.

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