IN this era of rapid development, the sustainability of the earth remains of paramount importance. Stories of developmental waste, especially from mining activities sipping into water bodies and later into homes is well-documented.
Multinationals’ thirst for profits ahead of human life and the earth is something that needs some level of control in Zambia.
If multinationals find a country that goes soft or lacks care on the environment, they will exploit it without a second thought to what happens to the environment a decade later.
It is important that countries put up institutions whose primary duty is to protect the environment.
Like we have here in Zambia, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) is an institution whose role becomes more important now that the environment is being threatened world over.
It is therefore encouraging to see the government taking steps towards arming ZEMA so it has more teeth to make sure the environment remains useful for future generations.
Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu said during the week that the government was in the process of strengthening ZEMA’s mandate by amending the Environmental Management Act and other related laws.
The need for ZEMA to have more teeth does not need re-emphasising.
So many times in this country have we seen an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report disregarded and a major project undertaken in the name of creating jobs.
These projects have had to go ahead and only when a sinkhole is discovered or something worse happens do people come up to say the EIA report had opposed the undertaking.
This has always raised questions on the purpose of ZEMA’s existence if the big boys can not listen to them.
It is also a known fact that there is corruption in the awarding of permission to carry out major projects despite several issues that threaten the environment.
That is why we feel steps taken by the government to review the ZEMA system to rid of corruption as well, is welcome.
“To ensure professionalism in the sector, we have also proposed amendments in regards to registration and regulation of environmental consultants. We are aware that we have some bad eggs in the system who take advantage of their clients,” the minister said.
The arming of ZEMA will make for a better world with modern and more sustaining works.
Issues of global warming are real. Rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns, floods and regular droughts are a sign that if nothing is done soon, global warming remains an armed weapon ready to fire.
We can only call on the government to ensure this undertaking they are getting into is seen to a fruitful end.
Days of unsafe projects that only serve to please the rich multinationals at the expense of the poor citizens who will remain bare the brunt of the bad akaike activities.
The environment and sustainability should be at the core of any project.
Zambia needs to put in place green projects.