BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry has expressed concern over the proliferation of illegal dumpsites which are posing a health hazard to people and the environment.
Environment deputy minister Barbara Rwodzi threatened to invoke section 69 of the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) Act, which imposes a five-year jail term and $5 million fine for environmental offenders.
Rwodzi told journalists in Harare yesterday that her ministry would collaborate with Ema to enforce relevant environmental laws and council by-laws to curb wanton littering.
“Illegal dumpsites and general uncleanliness of the environment are a cause for concern and they pose a serious threat to human health, and as such the government cannot sit and watch the citizenry and institutions disregarding the law through littering,” she said.
“In this regard, the government, through Ema, city councils, and other law enforcement agencies will immediately step up enforcement of provisions of the relevant Acts and by-laws in order to ensure cleanliness in the country.”
Rwodzi said Ema, municipalities and law enforcement agents would be guided by the provisions of the Ema Act, particularly section 70, which deals with prohibition of discharge of waste that causes pollution or ill-health to persons.
“Let me remind the local authorities that it is their responsibility to collect and responsibly dump waste at designated sites in accordance with their by-laws. Local authorities are, however, encouraged to go beyond the collection and dumping,” she said.
Rwodzi urged local authorities to promote waste recycling.