Environment law flouted

11 July 2018 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said last weekend that all the local authorities' dumpsites in the country are illegal.

He said they do not meet standards for waste management to curb anomalies such as pollution as provided by the Environmental Management Act 2007 (Act No 17 of 2007), and his ministry is busy drafting relevant policies that will be introduced to all local authorities.

In the meanwhile, the auditor-general, Junias Kandjeke has lashed the Directorate of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in the ministry, along with key stakeholders, whom he says have failed to ensure that local authorities, with the exception of the City of Windhoek, developed and submitted management environmental plans (EMPs) for their sewerage systems.

The 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 performance audit reports on sewerage management by local authorities in Namibia was tabled in the National Assembly by finance minister, Calle Schlettwein.

“The audit found that the DEA under the environment ministry did not ensure that local authorities develop and submit EMPs for sewerage infrastructure,” Kandjeke said.

Documentary reviews by the auditor reveal that all local authorities visited at the time of the audit, except for Windhoek, had not developed EMPs for sewerage reticulation systems.

“This is because the DEA only started sensitising local authorities on the Environmental Management Act, 2007 (Act No. 7 of 2007) during the 2015/16 financial year,” he noted.

The Rundu, Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati town councils received letters requesting them to develop and submit their EMPs during 2015/16.

However, at the time of the audit (2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16), these local authorities had not complied.

The auditors visited six regions - Khomas, Erongo, Hardap, Kavango East, Kavango West and Oshana.

The report further found that the Directorate of Water and Forestry under the agriculture ministry failed to adequately monitor local authorities to ensure compliance with the Wastewater Effluent Exemption Disposal Permit standards.

Additionally, the Housing, Habitat, Planning and Technical Services Coordination, which spent over N$3.8 billion during the period in question, did not sufficiently monitor sewerage infrastructure undertaken by local authorities.

The coordination, which falls under the urban and rural development ministry, did not ensure that the sewerage infrastructure was adequate to cater for all households, nor that it was well-maintained.

In the report, Kandjeke found a plethora of other shortcomings associated with sewerage systems at various local authorities.

Chiefly, he found that households are not connected to the sewage reticulation system; faulty installation of sewage collection chambers and inadequate sewage reticulation systems.

He also established that there was a failure to collect, treat and dispose of sewage with valid environmental clearances certificates and the usage of the toilet bucket system and open defecation in some areas.

This is contravention of the Environmental Act of 2007, Kandjeke noted.

The purpose of the audit was to assess whether the environment and urban and rural development ministries, along with key stakeholders were effectively ensuring the adequacy of sewerage infrastructure and subsequently the proper management of sewage and its impact on the environment.


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