'Extreme' measure denounced by operators

Measures to cut noise pollution from private generators spark protest, strike threat in Wasit

WASIT — Owners of private generators in the city of Kut, Wasit province, staged a protest on Friday against new government regulations that they claim are financially burdensome. These regulations include the installation of soundproof casings, backup engines, and the organization of electrical wiring.

The protest comes after the local government issued directives aimed at reducing noise and visual pollution within residential areas. These directives, communicated by Adil Al-Zurgani, the qaymaqam of Kut, originate from the Environmental Protection and Improvement Council and were enforced by the governor’s office.

Hussein Farhan, a local generator owner, expressed the financial difficulties these new rules impose: “We, the generator owners in Kut, request the local government to revoke the silencer requirement. Such a generator costs between $30,000 and $50,000. If we had such means, we wouldn’t be working with generators.”

Local fossil fuel-based generators cover periods where grid electricity is not available. They can be noisy and contribute to air pollution, posing environmental and health risks to residential areas.

Farhan warned that the generator owners are prepared to turn off their generators in protest if the government fails to consider their grievances. “We hope the government does not force us to this extreme measure,” he added.

The directives also require that tangled electrical wires in streets and intersections be replaced with standard boards to prevent accidents, especially with summer approaching. “With summer approaching, this situation could lead to serious accidents,” Zurgani noted.

Furthermore, each generator must have a backup engine to ensure continuous operation, particularly crucial given the expected intense heat of the upcoming summer months.

In response to the protests, the governor of Wasit issued a statement warning that violators of these new regulations would be referred to the courts for legal action.