By Yolanda Moyo
THE government is reviewing the Environmental Management Act as part of strengthening strategies that address issues of rampant land degradation, pollution, waste management and encroachment into wetlands.
Environmental governance landscapes and changing practices have seen the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry conducting stakeholder consultations as it seeks to align the Environmental Management Act with the constitution.
In an interview with ZBC News in Bulawayo this Tuesday, the Minister of Environment; Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu emphasised the need for the country to come up with solution-based policy proposals as part of reviewing the Act.
“In reviewing the EMA Act, it has to be considered not just the principles of environmental stewardship but also to critically analyse whether EMA as an institution is still structurally suitable, and adequately legally empowered enough to play the role of an efficient and effective regulator,” said the minister.
“Equally important there is a need to critically review the environmental impact assessment processes and evaluate whether they are still in sync with the best practices, including cost-effectiveness, all this is viewed also within the broader context of the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe. I also need to bring to the attention of the house, the rampant land degradation and pollution which is happening at an accelerated rate in most of the 8 rural provinces due to illegal mining.
“While it is illegal, it is however as we review the Environmental Management Act to ensure that rehabilitation and environmental restoration is done and done effectively. Failure to do that now would mean that the country is accumulating an environmental debt for future generations.”
Enacted in 2003, the review of the Environmental Management Act is also expected to look at issues such as streambank cultivation, sand abstraction, hazardous waste pollution and take a holistic assessment of laws and by-laws that govern allocation and development of land in urban areas.