Environmental fund on cards

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Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu

BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
GOVERNMENT has intensified national consultations on the Environmental Management Act to ensure there is an operational fund to support the sector.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu told NewsDay that there was need for a fund to address environmental offences that threaten communities.

Ndhlovu said: “As you may be aware, we are undertaking intensive national consultations on the Environmental Management Act to ensure that we have an operational fund specific to the environment for the purposes of regulation of the sector.

“At the same time, we also need the fund to address environmental offences that threaten our communities. As indicated earlier, the degradation of the land, rivers and ecosystems needs a systematic government response, and the environment levy will serve this purpose.”

“In terms of its structure on the levy, our expectation is that it will have a strong governance body that assists me as the minister, while also advising the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) in undertaking the task of monitoring, and rehabilitation of the environment, including mining areas,” he added.

In the past, institutions such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association have on several occasions raised concern over environmental degradation resulting from artisanal mining activities and other environmental malpractices.

Last year, the government announced that it had approved the imposition of stiff penalties for environmental offenders as well as avail funds through the proposed environmental levy.

In the same year, Cabinet approved amendments to the Environmental Management Act.

The amendments are meant to enhance comprehensive and sustainable protection of the environment.

Ndhlovu also said government was concerned that local authorities and housing co-operatives have been allocating land on wetlands, which under the wetlands policy and Ema law is strictly prohibited, adding that this would no longer be tolerated.

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