After a short peaceful period of time, many streets in Ho Chi Minh City have become unpleasant as noise from restaurants and food stalls is back and getting worse.
Music from high-power loudspeakers or portable speakers still echoes through the neighborhoods even though it is past 10:00 pm.
Carousing over ear-piercing music until midnight
“It is a great misery when my home is next to an area crowded with restaurants and beer stalls that make noise around the clock," said a resident living on the Pham Van Dong 'beer avenue.'
“Every night, they turn on loud music and raise the roof.
"I cannot sleep well due to the overly loud music that plunges me into insomnia, a headache, and ineffectiveness at work.
“I just hope that they tone down the music after 10:00 pm so that residents can take a rest after a hard-working day."
After a quiet period, noise has been revived at a series of pubs on Hiep Binh, Pham Van Dong, Nguyen Kiem, and Pham Van Chieu Streets in Thu Duc City, Binh Thanh District, and Go Vap District, causing a disturbance in many residential areas nearby.
Although grassroots-level authorities have repeatedly tackled loud noise at beer stalls on Pham Van Dong Boulevard, with a heavy hand, it has not been effective at all.
At 11:00 pm, a large number of pubs on the boulevard are still playing deafening music.
Stretching a 4.5-kilometer section of Pham Van Dong from Nguyen Thai Son Roundabout to Binh Loi Bridge are more than 25 beer joints of all kinds operating in Go Vap District’s Wards 1 and 11 as well as Ward 13 in Binh Thanh District.
Among them, Go Vap District’s Ward 1 sees the highest number of beer places, with numerous huge speakers and DJs playing ear-splitting music.
Many female DJs continuously adjust music to attract guests, while employees of the beer stalls spill onto the street to invite customers.
The noise at some restaurants and beer clubs is measured at 95-100 decibels by sound meter apps on mobile phones.
The figure exceeds the level for the highest fine for making noise (more than 40 decibels).
Meanwhile, in some areas in Hiep Binh Chanh Ward, many residents are discontented as their neighbors regularly drink and sing with portable speakers late into the night.
Regulation on seizing noise-causing objects is needed
A representative of the Binh Thanh Bureau of Natural Resources and Environment told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that noise violation complaints can be made via hotline 1022.
The switchboard will send complaints about noise to the authorities of the wards.
The ward authorities will handle noise violations before 10:00 pm, while the ward police will be in charge of tackling noise after 10:00 pm.
The authorities of Binh Thanh District have tasked the wards with inspecting and checking the activities of restaurants and stalls on Pham Van Dong to impose sanctions on noise violators.
The district wants to temporarily impound loudspeakers owned by restaurants and stalls committing noise violations, but the prevailing law excludes this regulation.
As such, the district is proposing the Department of Natural Resources and Environment report this issue to the city and the government in order to add some relevant rules.
Another solution suggests environmental police assign surveillants to oversee the operation of restaurants and beer stalls and handle noise violations.
Lawyer Vo Thi Man from the Ho Chi Minh Bar Association stated that the permitted noise level in special areas is no more than 55 decibels from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm and 45 decibels between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.
Meanwhile, it is no more than 70 decibels from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm and 55 decibels from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am for common areas.
“It is necessary to impose a heavier penalty for manufacturing and trading businesses that cause a low level of noise, but have been punished several times," Man said.
"This is aimed at preventing them from accepting penalties to maintain business operations.
“Though being at a slight level, noise will affect the quality of life of residents and hurt their health if it is made continuously."
In 2022, the Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee ordered relevant agencies to intensify the handling of noise violations.
Under the order, the leaders of wards and districts will take full responsibility for failing to deal with noise pollution due to slack management and poor supervision that lead to negative effects on security and social order.
Pursuant to the regulations on administrative penalties, violators shall be fined VND1-5 million (US$43-215) for noise exceeding the standard level by 2-5 decibels, and VND5-20 million ($215-860) for surpassing the standard level by 5-10 decibels.