MET to amend Act for extension of Environmental Commission

26 Aug 2013 06:50
WINDHOEK, 26 AUG (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is in the process of amending the Environment Management Act for environmental officials to approve the development and management of all waste disposal sites within local authority areas.
Environmental Commissioner Teofilus Nghitila made this announcement during the closing of the two-week training of environmental managers and officers of the ministry, town councils and local authorities on Friday.
The training started on 12 August and ended 23 August.
“First and foremost, we intend to designate you all as environmental officers in terms of the Environmental Management Act, which was passed in the 2007, so that you become a formal part of this proposed environmental management national integrated network. Once the due processes are completed in terms of the Act, you will be formally designated as such, and become an extension of the Environmental Commission in the regions,” he noted.
The responsibility of managing and supervising these sites will thus become the responsibility of the newly appointed designated environmental officers.
Nghitila said national environmental manager initiatives should be implemented at local level where attention is needed and where the environmental impacts are experienced on a daily basis.
These environmental officers will also form an important part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) appointment process, which the ministry will use to speed up the processes in their respective areas, as well as to ensure the subsequent monitoring of the implementation of approved EIAs.
Furthermore, Nghitila stressed that he want to see a situation where the Environment Ministry is involved in the planning process for natural resources and environmental management even at local authority level, and that this understanding be reflected in the work processes of local authorities.
He urged the participants to fully acquaint themselves with all the provisions of the Act in the meantime in preparation of their new roles.
“It was further anticipated that this network would provide a constant stream of reliable information on the state of the nation’s environment to the Office of the Environmental Commissioner, and in so doing, facilitate the development and execution of national environmental management strategies and programmes,” he added.
Topics and discussions during the training amongst others included the introduction of the Act; EIAs; environmental auditing; overviews of mining and metallurgical operations; water and sanitation; air pollution and noise control; hazardous and solid waste management; as well as the environmental challenges faced by the Namibian mining industry.