While Colombia’s legendary nightlife needs no introduction, the late night fiestas have left some city-dwellers praying for a conclusion.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hardly breaking news that Colombia’s nightlife ranks among the world’s wildest. All major Colombian cities have a “Zona Rosa,” a kind of adult playground, where revelers drink and dance to the break of dawn.
The sound map above shows decibel levels on an average week night in the south of Medellin. The pair of red and purple pockets on the west side of the central highway strip represent Medellin’s Parque Lleras, where foreigners and Colombians alike congregate to enjoy “la rumba.”
What the map does not capture however, is that the party often continues on average residential blocks through the night and into the following day. Obnoxious singing, organ-playing, and exaggerated laughing must be endured by many distressed citizens who thought the leafy neighborhood they had moved into was quiet and family-friendly.
“The experience was one of the worst. Since they opened the bar we began to complain, me and my neighbors,” said Erika Arrollave, a Medellin native living above a corner store that has become a haunt for all-night drinkers. “We made a report with the police and they told us that they were on it, but the problem continued.”
The store was licenced to sell liquor, but not to allow consumption. Arrollave made a video and brought it to the authorities. The bar shut down for a while and then opened up again.
“My mother couldn’t get any rest. She had symptoms of vertigo caused by sleep deprivation,” Arrollave said.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “problems related to noise include stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity.”
One concerned group of intellectuals at Bogota‘s Central University began an anti-noise pollution campaign called “¡No Mas Ruido!” To help communities understand the nature of the problem, the group installed a sound-meter on campus. The device visually displays the decibel level — a contraption seemingly modeled after the strongman game with a hammer and bell, found at carnivals.
Whether the campaign has achieved anything more than young men yelling at the top of their lungs to impress their girl friends remains unclear.