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People and Politics Forum 28. 11. 2008

"How much noise by kids must people tolerate?"

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More information:

Kindergarten Noise Pollution - Ever More Neighbors Bring Court Cases

After a four-year long battle, the Milchzahn Kindergarten in the Berlin neighborhood of Friedenau is closing. A nearby resident had brought a case to court over noise pollution - and won. But the Milchzahn story is no isolated incident. Ever more kindergartens are having to shut up shop due to this type of complaint. But Germany needs children. That's why the federal government moved to increase day-care and kindergarten places threefold by the year 2013. This initiative could be difficult to achieve if kindergartens are increasingly seen as a public nuisance.

Our Question is:

"How much noise by kids must people tolerate?"

Bob Gustafson, USA, writes:

"The older people complaining about kids noise should keep in mind that the kids will be paying for the old folks pension in a few years. The old folks should be happy that there are kids in Germany."

Charles Stieger, in Lithuania, writes:

"Trains, planes, cars and industrial plants produce noise levels well over 80 decibels and reaching 120, noise by children is just 50. Changes in legislation are urgently needed to impress upon society again that kids' noisiness is as natural as birdsong, or the patter of a waterfall."

Gunner Krutz, writing from Britain, is both sarcastic and acrimonious:

"Let's continue our anti-child offensive and accelerate the end of the German nation, and hand over our territory to multiplying migrants. When the islamization of Germany is finally completed we'll be spearheading social progress in Europe again."

In Brazil, René Junghans, is shocked and says people should be ashamed of themselves:

"..Those who hate children so much that they go to the courts to close down a kindergarten should feel totally ashamed and move into a deep forest or some isolated village..I also do not understand the judges who are responsible for such verdicts. Perhaps they do not have any children, and would act differently if they had. In Brazil, people love children, and our neighbors have never complained about noisiness, nor have we ever complained to them."

Sentiments echoed strongly by Gerhard Seeger, in the Philippines:

"Noise caused by traffic is tolerated because people love their cars - but children? That kind of hostility towards kids is unheard of here in the Philippines."

André Genaeuss, in Germany, highlights another aspect:

"All of us adults expect the children of today to look after us one day, in the form of pensions. And we have a duty towards them as well. Lots of people forget that. Noise is a part of a child's development and can't be stopped through court decisions."

But one viewer, Charles Smyth in Britain, examines the reasons why some people are upset, in bigs cities such as Berlin:

"Very residential areas... make the provision of kindergartens difficult from both the point of view of suitable buildings with open-to-the-air playground facilities, and be reasonably convenient for parents, to drop off and pick up, without incurring a lot of travel expense. Kids' noise may register lower on the decibel meter, but its higher pitch is more noticeably annoying for some who also have a right to a reasonable degree of peace and quiet."

And Mr Smyth, intriguingly, combines two German issues....

"Maybe that decommissioned nuclear bunker of Erich Honecker's has a 21st century role after all"

And some irony too, from our resident poet in Costa Rica, Erwin Scholz:

"Shouts of kids, like the song of birds,

in the dawn, the first sounds heard.

But complaints keep growing,

thnks to German moaning."!

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.