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Friday, July 12, 2024

Over 5 000 environment offenders fined

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

The move by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to establish an enforcement unit is bearing fruit in the wake of revelations that over 5 000 offenders have paid fines since 2019.

Prior to the establishment of the National Environmental Law Enforcement Unit in 2019, environment offenders were reluctant to cooperate with EMA.

The establishment of an enforcement unit, made up of personnel from the Zimbabwe Republic Police has changed the landscape through following up on cases with EMA acknowledging the remarkable work being done by the unit.

This was disclosed on the sidelines of the environmental reporting workshop held in Hwange this Wednesday.

“This team’s main task is to ensure that all tickets that are issued to offenders are followed up to completion, without that they have to make sure that these people are then brought to the courts. I can say from 2019 to date it’s an excess of 5 000 tickets that have been cleared either through follow-up and culprits paying or other being taken to the courts for completion of these tickets.

“We are seeing a lot of improvement and that is also increasing in terms of environmental compliance because when one knows that when you are issued with a ticket, if you don’t pay then there is that quick follow-up, then it means that people are cognisant of the fact that the law truly catches up whenever you are found on the wrong side of the law. That has increased compliance as to how now people regard and observe environmental legislation,” said EMA Principal Environmental Education and Publicity Officer, Mr Liberty Mugadza.

The workshop was a platform to share ideas on best practice in environmental reporting.

“The workshop has given us fresh angles as to how we can package environmental stories as we play our fourth estate function,” said one of the journalists.

Another added, “We didn’t know a number of legislations that protect the environment, this workshop has enlightened us and we will make follow-ups.”

The EMA Environment Enforcement Unit, a direct response to growing concerns about environmental degradation, is expected to push compliance to environmental laws in the country.

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