Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu has warned that companies disregarding the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) Act risk being closed.
On his familiarisation visit of the Copperbelt, Mr. Nzovu said people’s lives that are negatively affected by effects of pollution are more important than industries.
Mr. Nzovu said the newly created Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is concerned with the continued pollution of water bodies by mines and other industries on the Copperbelt.
He warned of stern action against mining firms polluting rivers and streams if they do not stop in the next two months.
Mr. Nzovu said ZEMA is now independent and will be empowered more to ensure that it enforces regulation on environmental management
He announced that the Government plans to strengthen Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) Act to curb pollution.
“As you may be aware that ZEMA obviously is empowered to monitor mining activities but we are going to empower ZEMA more with human resources, with budget support as well as equipment to ensure that our environment is no longer polluted. So through you sir (Copperbelt Permanent Secretary) I would advise the various entities, the mining entities and other industries to start cleaning up because we are coming with a robust plan to inspect and to metout the necessary fines, necessary penalties. I am also glad to inform you that we will be strengthening the ZEMA act very soon because we have realised that mines and other industries are polluting the atmosphere, the environment, the rivers, everything very very carelessly,” Mr. Nzovu said.
Mr. Nzovu paid a courtesy call on Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Augustine Kasongo at his office in Ndola before beginning the tour of the province.
Mr. Nzovu toured Zambia Meteorological Department facilities at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport before proceeding to Limestone Resources and Changeuo Mine.
“We have to strongly inform you that the developmental agenda we are pursuing as a new Government is one where environmental sustainability will be a key component. Issues of pollution MD are issues which we will follow strictly. We have come here to talk to you, we know your challenges but more so we are aware of the levels of emissions here because just coming here on this road to the plant dust emissions are unacceptable,” he said at Limestone Resources.
“Just from the site if we measure dust emissions I am sure you will not be in compliance. We do not believe that even dust suppression cannot be done 90 to 100 % and this is within you and it’s a measure we would like you to enforce as quickly as you can because violation of this requirement, I am sure you know the consequences. More so that we have so many diseases, heart disease, chest diseases and to operate like this with such high emissions of dust simply will not be acceptable,” Nzovu said.
The Minister further spoke against deforestation saying it is negatively contributing to climate change.
Mr. Kasongo told the Minister of Green Economy and Environment to help resolve issues surrounding land allocation in forest reserves on the Copperbelt.
“You are assured of our total support from the province but I just want to maybe make a request to you. You can help us resolve the issue to do with people who are misplaced following the opening up of our new international airport (Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe). We had people who were paid some money and promised land where they would be allocated. I think we have had a challenge where to find this land but I was informed that there are 800 hectares under forestry that land meant to be given to our people so that they can be settled. Letters have been written by people complaining that they have not been given land but the only land that is available is the 800 hectares of land under forestry,” Mr. Kasongo said.
Credit: Lusaka Times