Waste harms environment, wildlife – Shifeta

Home National Waste harms environment, wildlife – Shifeta

Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK – As part of his festive season message to travellers and visitors alike, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta says litter and irresponsible waste disposal creates an eye sore, unattractive environment and is hazardous to wildlife and a risk to people’s health and wellbeing.

He maintained the festive season is usually characterised by travelling and having fun activities which the ministry believe generates a lot of waste that if not disposed properly off will dirtify national roads, streets, settlements, towns, cities and even the national parks.

Shifeta said Namibia intends to raise the bar in conservation, environmental protection and become a tourist destination of choice in the sub Saharan Africa and Africa at large. “We are endeavouring to deliver this through concerted efforts in implementing the legislation and policies that guide our activities. For this reason, I want to encourage our tourists and holidaymakers to be part of this very exciting transformation by observing the protection of the environment. We are appealing to the world to compliment the efforts of the ministry particularly during the festive season,” Shifeta noted.  This year, Shifeta says there have been calls, including that from President Hage Geingob, advocating for a cleaner Namibia. 
He stated this is in recognition that Namibia’s reputation as one of the cleanest countries on the African continent is in jeopardy.

“Our protected areas are sanctuaries and one of the pillars for wildlife conservation. Namibia tourism is mainly driven by our magnificent wildlife species and our specular landscapes. Considering the tourism’s enormous contribution to the country’s GDP and employment creation, our national parks and landscapes should be protected from any risks that threatens their reputation and this includes littering,” he said.

To ensure this, Shifeta recently announced a ban on plastic carrier bags in all the 20 pristine national parks including those in the coastline. He urged all visitors and all holidaymakers visiting the national parks to observe this restriction without fail. 

He added the ministry together with the Namibian Police will enforce the ban and maintain order in parks especially at beaches near Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. According to him, it is also important to all visitors and all members of the public to note that most parts of the coastal-line is in the protected areas including the beach area between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay (Dorob and Namib Naukluft National parks) and environmental distraction will not be entertained. He said a worrying trend of litter and irresponsible disposal has been observed over the years at recreational facilities and areas. 

He therefore appealed to all visitors to use the disposal facilities available and where such facilities are not available, provisions must be made to dispose any waste without littering. “Fellow Namibians and our esteemed visitors, this is our turning point, this is our moment of reckoning and transformation in safe keeping our environment. The tendency of throwing bottles, plastics or any unsightly material from our vehicles is strongly discouraged,” Shifeta reacted.
Further, he said the similar call goes to the business people especially those in the liquor business to assist and join the efforts to keep Namibia clean by putting in initiatives that promotes safe disposal of waste.

Shifeta called upon the regional councils, local authorities, traditional authorities, churches, non-governmental organisations, businesses and the private sector to provide means for the safe disposal of materials.
Furthermore, he wished everyone safe travels to their various destinations. 

Lastly, Shifeta said Namibia’s roads are among the well-maintained roads in the world and are a marvel and a thrill to drive on
“However, these roads are busy during the festive season with everyone seeking a holiday experience. We encourage our tourists to drive with absolute care and adhere to the traffic rules. I wish all of us a happy festive season, a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year,” concluded the Environment and Tourism minister.