WINDHOEK, 27 NOV – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has called on ministries, agencies and traditional authorities to withdraw authorisation or permission of activities undertaken without an environmental clearance.
This follows a large scale felling of timber – a protected tree species – illegally done in the Kavango East, Zambezi and other regions in north-eastern Namibia. This timber is reportedly exported to China for commercial purposes.
Illegal sand mining has also increased in recent years in northern Namibia. Such sand is used mainly in the building construction industry.
A media statement issued by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism here on Monday noted with grave concern the practice where the Environmental Management Act is being ignored by competent authorities when granting permission for certain activities to be undertaken.
The Act provides a legal framework that restricts listed activities to be undertaken without an environmental clearance certificate.
“Activities such as sand mining and tree logging will be closely monitored to ensure compliance with the law as these activities threaten the wellbeing of our environment and we cannot allow this,” reads the statement.
It said that while the ministry understands that the country’s developmental needs require such activities to extract useful resources, such actions should be done in accordance with the law to mitigate and minimise the impact those activities may have on the environment.
The ministry will conduct inspections in collaboration with the Namibian Police Force to ensure compliance on illegal activities, and criminal sanctions might be brought to those who fail to adhere. – NAMPA