The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is currently in the processes of amending the Environmental Management Act (EMA) of 2007 as it has conflicting provisions with the Pollution control and Waste Management bill.
The EMA was approved by Cabinet as part of the Namibia’s Environmental Assessment Policy that among other things, introduced precautionary measures to prevent or dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly manner.
In addition to the EMA, the MET crafted the Pollution and Waste Management Bill as early as 2003 but it was put on hold all those years because of the information that over lapsed from the EMA.
Despite Cabinet having approved the Environmental Assessment Policy that endorses the EMA, both the EMA and the Environmental Regulations came into force.
These two legal instruments form the basis of our approach to waste management, not only at the level of waste collection, but also at the level of waste prevention.
Deputy Minister of MET, Tommy Nambahu confirmed in an interview with The Villager this week that both the EMA and the Pollution Control and Waste Management bill are being reviewed because of the lapsing provisions, adding, that it is too early to share the contents thereof with the public.
He said that currently various departments (and Ministries) are busy with the different waste control methods and the mandate does not solely fall under the MET, adding that if all these are under one roof, it will be more effective to address pollution and control waste.
“I can confirm that the Waste and Pollution Control Bill is undergoing radical changes to transform or harmonise it with the EMA. The consultations are on-going before we finalise the review,” Nambahu stressed.
Nambahu stressed that the bill is an old bill and the review is imminent, adding that it is at an advanced stage, saying that the finalization and submission of the Bill to Cabinet is unpredictable at this point in time.
“All will depend on how much will be left of it if a great number of clauses find their way into the EMA or how it will appear if some clauses in the EMA are imported into it. Both the bill and the EMA address certain similar aspects as some are not adequately incorporated in the act,” Nambahu said.
Nambahu reiterated that there are government procedures that need to be followed before it is shared in the public domain.
“The review may result in the entire bill being drastically transformed and that means some of the clauses may be removed and others added,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry developed Namibia’s Green Plan; this was a comprehensive document covering a broad range of environmental issues including waste management.
However, Nambahu said that the MET is not directly involved with the collection and disposal of waste, saying it is the responsibility of Local and Regional Authorities.
“Our role is to enforce the law through our conservation scientists (Environmental inspectors). It is however not possible to break down how much is spent on waste and pollution control but all I can say is that the amount spent on waste management and pollution control is built into salaries and subsistence allowance of our employees,” he said.
In addition, Nambahu said that the EMA is meant to empower the MET to set up regulations governing pollution and control waste.
“The act also proposed an environmental commission and thus provide environmental protection because we could not come up a parastatal that will be the governing body,” Nambahu added.
Nambahu noted that the review can incorporate the bill and the act into one or whether they will remain separate documents but the bill will incorporate the aspects that the act failed to integrate.