Shifeta calls out NWR

28 November 2018 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has given a directive that by the end of this year, the ministry must ensure that no illegal dumping sites exist in Namibia's national parks.

“Whoever polluted the area must clean it by the end of December and whoever brought the waste must take it out. Even if it costs millions. It is illegal. No dumpsites are allowed,” he said. The minister's statement follows a media report about the dumpsite at Sesriem, managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), which sparked an investigation. The probe showed that there are nearly no environmental management programmes in place at NWR resorts across the country.

NWR has in the meantime undertaken to ready its environmental management plan by the end of the current financial year. At the Sesriem campsite, rubbish is collected from the drums by NWR staff. It is dumped together and ends up in one giant heap in an open rubbish dump behind the staff houses.

Shifeta said people have been illegally creating dumpsites in national parks.

“I was shocked when I saw this. We are investigating this. This is illegal. You can only create temporary holding sites.” The minister warned that still within this year, his ministry will ensure that there are no such dumping sites in any of the parks in the country. “This is very embarrassing. We will name and shame. We cannot allow this to continue. We are degrading our parks. Parks are not public places where you can just do what you want. I have instructed the director (of parks) that all residents that live in parks must sign a letter with us. If you do not behave, you will be given a month to vacate.”

He said in such a case the person would still be allowed to work in the park, but would not be allowed to live in the park.

“I have the power. How can you create a dumpsite in a park? It is very embarrassing.” Shifeta further said that those who created the waste in the parks will have to remove it.

He said that park officials who are not enforcing park regulations properly will also face disciplinary action.

“We do not want our parks to degrade.” Shifeta said instructions were already given to Colgar Sikopo, director of parks and wildlife management that all waste must be out of the parks by the end of December. Referring to a previous situation in Etosha National Park, he said during a visit in 2016 at Namutoni and the Okaukuejo camps they also saw a dumpsite.

“It was horrific. We found that the park had become a scrapyard with some residents who had left their old vehicles parked there.” He said Namibians must uphold the standards of parks and protect their integrity.

According to NWR, every resort in the park will have an environmental management plan by the end of this financial year as per the provision of the Environmental Management Act No. 7 of 2007. It is also in the process to develop its waste management system which will become an integral part of the business.

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