The environment ministry is in the process of reviewing the Environmental Management Act of 2007 to provide reinforcement and punitive measures for non-adherence by issuing admission of guilt fines.
During the launch of the national clean-up campaign, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said even though waste disposal features prominently in the Act, a number of gaps have been identified, prompting the ministry to initiative the review process.
Furthermore, the ministry developed the solid waste management strategy in consultation with stakeholders to deal with the challenge posed by solid waste. He noted despite all these efforts, waste still prevails on roads, streets and public places.
“It is concerning that some people in our communities litter deliberately with the excuse that they are creating employment. I want to condemn this type of behaviour,” said Shifeta.
“It is also critical to highlight that even though Namibia is faced with the challenge of solid waste, we must not forget to comprehensively address other forms of waste that pollute our water sources, air and ground such as organic waste in the form of microorganism, chemical waste from industries as well as medical and electronic waste.”
Namibia being a small population, he said, there should be no reason for the country to fail in managing waste unless it is out of pure ignorance. According to Shifeta, the clean-up campaign or any effort, time and resources invested in ridding the country of unnecessary waste is done for the wellbeing of people.
“Many people do not realise that unmanaged waste pose a danger to our livelihoods. Waste is not only unsightly and unattractive but invite many of the world’s deadliest illnesses such as hepatitis E as we have seen in Namibia,” the minister said.
In 2018, President Hage Geingob launched for the first time the national clean-up campaign, an initiative to address the challenge of litter, pollution and waste in the country. Recognising that the country is becoming unsightly due to irresponsible waste disposal and litter, the campaign seeks to transform the attitudes of citizens to be more responsible and conscious when handling waste.
Unfortunately, this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Shifeta said they will not be encouraging mass gatherings for the purposes of cleaning up, but rather embark on a public awareness campaign to transform the mindsets of people. The campaign activities planned for this year run until 31 March 2021.