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Police to enforce Environmental Management Act

by Rodney Pienaar

The police will soon be enforcing the Environmental Management Act of 2007 as sand mining is in fact destroying the environment, the environmental commissioner Teofilus Nghitila  has said.  

Sand mining is only allowed after the issuance of an environmental clearance certificate but due to the lucrative nature of the business, and growth in the construction industry, many people are extracting sand illegally.

It has been realised that they do so without considering the impact on the environment, Nghitila, has said.  

“The law is very clear on issues pertaining to sand mining. If you are in breach of the Environmental Management Act, the law is not lenient at all and it is not a small fine to pay. We expect every business person undertaking sand mining to be in possession of an environmental clearance certificate obtained form the ministry with a clear signature,” he said. 

He said failure to provide proper proof if found conducting sand-mining activities would make the liable offender prone to facing the full wrath of the law.   

Anyone found mining sand without proper documentation will be arrested and have to pay N$500 000 or face five years in prison or both, Nghitila said.

According to Nghitila, the environment ministry has done a lot of awareness- raising campaigns through the media and traditional/local authorities so that sand mining activities can be reported.

Yet the situation is getting worse by the day.

“People are just mining sand for businesses such as brick making and construction, we have warned them.”  

“The situation is extremely bad I have seen land where massive excavations have taken place especially in the north and there are pit holes that prove that the activity of sand mining has taken place there. These pit holes are a danger to people and livestock especially in the rainy seasons,” he said. 

He added that sand mining does not only involve the mere extraction of sand but affects plants and micro organism which play a big role in ecological balance and some micro organism face extinction therefore it is the ministry’s duty to take harsh measures. 

No one has ever been arrested for sand mining but the ministry has managed to issue compliances orders to companies that were in direct contravention of the Environmental Management Act of 2007.