564 environmental clearance certificates issued in 2019

13 October 2020 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



A total of 564 environmental clearance certificates were issued in 2019/2020, of which the majority were for developments relating to mining and exploration, infrastructure, management of hazardous substances, agriculture and tourism.

A total of 169 certificates were issued for mining exploration, 143 for infrastructure development, 91 for the management of hazardous substances, 40 for agriculture and irrigation, and 39 certificates for tourism development.

The highest number of clearance certificates were issued for developments in the Erongo Region (149), followed by Khomas (85), //Karas (76), Kunene (53), Otjozondjupa (40) and Hardap (34). According to the environment ministry, it aims to process applications for environmental clearance within three months. “As part of monitoring implementation of the charter, an analysis was conducted on the efficiency of the ministry in issuing environmental clearance certificates,” the ministry's progress report states.

The report says that the average turnaround time in processing environmental clearance certificates issued during 2019/2020 was 48 working days, while just over 78% of environmental clearance certificates were processed within three months of receipt of application.



Compliance

Furthermore, a total of 113 sites were inspected for environmental compliance. These covered a wide range of sites including waste disposal sites, mines, sand-mining operations, clinics and hospitals, timber harvesting operations, lodges, schools and hostels.

“The ministry also continued to accompany these inspections with widespread sensitisation of the Environmental Management Act among stakeholders such as local authorities, traditional authorities, regional councils and private sector,” the report reads. It says 15 notifications and compliance orders were issued, most of them for sand-mining operations. It added that a major new project was initiated to rehabilitate 119 sites degraded by sand mining in the Ohangwena Region.

“This is being undertaken by Roads Authority and marks an important commitment to tackling the hazard caused by deep burrow pits for sand and gravel for road construction.”

Further consultations were also held on timber harvesting and authorization was given for timber already harvested to be transported to any wood factory in the country, subject to strict conditions. Measures to improve compliance with the Environmental Management Act were built into the online application system for environmental clearance, including the option for the public to report cases of suspected non-compliance to the ministry.

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