No legal dumpsites in Namibia: Shifeta

23 Mar 2018 17:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 MAR (NAMPA) – There are no approved, declared or gazetted dumpsites in Namibia, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said on Friday.
He made these remarks during a familiarisation visit to the City of Windhoek’s Kupferberg waste disposal site, where he also aired his dismay over illegal dumpsites in Namibia.
“When it’s illegal it means there is an offence that is being committed. So we are perpetuating this illegality,” said Shifeta.
The minister urged local and traditional authorities to have their dumpsites approved and gazetted with the ministry as soon as possible.
At this point, the majority of the dumpsites operate with just a clearance certificate which is insufficient, Shifeta said.
The visit was in line with the recently launched National Solid Waste Management Strategy and the Environmental Management Act of 2007 as gazetted in 2012.
To date, there are only three municipalities whose dumpsites are in compliance with the Environmental Management Act and these are in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
These will be gazetted and approved in April, Shifeta said.
The Solid Waste Management Strategy will ensure that regulations, funding and action plans to improve solid waste management are properly coordinated and consistent with national policy, and will facilitate co-operation between stakeholders.
Shifeta also warned that the way in which dumpsites are run could land those in charge in hot water, should lives be lost.
“It can be both fines and sentences. The fine can be to an institution. An institution can pay half a million for example. But you can’t imprison an institution. It means the people running it will be imprisoned,” Shifeta cautioned.
Another concern is the demarcation of dumpsites by the authorities without inspection by the environmental commissioner’s office and declaration by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The minister acknowledged that the majority of local authorities were unaware of the necessary provisions they have to comply with as far as dumpsites are concerned.
He, however, said the law is in place and it was now up to officials to read and implement it.
Some local authorities have attributed their non-compliance to lack of financial capacity, a reason Shifeta does not buy into.
“There are those who are playing ignorance… We don’t have a budget, but they charge people rates and taxes. Why do they charge people? Where do they put the money?” he asked.