LEGISLATORS have called for a ban on events at the Hong Kong Stadium exceeding the official evening maximum noise level of 65 decibels. It is so easy to be wise with hindsight, particularly when voters are getting upset. But with tempers at fever pitch, it is hard to see how the problem of excessive noise could have been dealt with in such cavalier fashion in the first place. Even if the Environmental Protection Department had not warned of the problem in advance, it should have been obvious that the only way to make the project self-financing would be to bring in pop concerts which local residents would find disturbing. Such sports events as the Rugby Sevens are lucrative enough. But there are too few of them to finance a project as costly as the stadium. Once that had been established, it should have been equally obvious a choice had to be made. The first alternative would be to drop the idea that the stadium should be self-financing. The taxpayer would have to be asked to pay for its construction and upkeep. The other choice would have been a stadium built to a more costly and less attractive indoor design. Neither was seriously considered. As usual, all concerned felt free to ignore environmental laws and assume the public would put up with whatever nuisance was foisted on them. Now there are no easy solutions. However, the possibility of afternoon concerts, at a time when the maximum permitted noise level is a slightly higher 70 decibels, should be considered. They would bring at least limited relief to residents. In the longer-term, however, the row must be another lesson to government that environmental concerns cannot be ignored. Residents have found their voice. Their needs will have to be taken into account or their protests will grow louder.