Safeguarding the environment

Laws must be used to ensure nature is protected.

19 November 2018 | Environment

Pohamba Shifeta; Minister of environment and tourism; “Human beings are greedy, we only think of making money and do so at the expense of destroying the environment.”

A stakeholders' workshop on climate change awareness and climate finance for Namibia was recently held in Swakopmund.

Speaking at the opening of the event, the minister of environment and tourism Pohamba Shifeta said that environmentalists need to be strict when monitoring destructive activities.“There are many environmental challenges on this planet. We have pollution and land degradation but climate change has the most challenging factors in our lifestyle and is a very big threat to our livelihood.”

The minister emphasised that environmentalists are gatekeepers and should ensure that no one commits environmental crimes. “People play ignorant and break environmental laws for temporary pleasures. Leniency should be done away with, you must be strict.”

He quoted from Article 95 (l) of the Namibian constitution which states that the state shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia, policies aimed at the maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future; in particular, the Government shall provide measures against the dumping or recycling of foreign nuclear and toxic waste on Namibian territory.



Legislation

Shifeta also urged environmentalists to follow this legislation as well as the Environmental Act (Act 7 of 2007) when carrying out their duties to ensure that the environment is preserved.

“If you use this act, our environment will be protected. It puts a burden on the organs of state to make sure that activities follow the act and are done with environmental clearance certificates. Environmentalists must do their work to allow activities to take place that will allow nature to stay intact.”

Any activities which are done for commercial purposes need environmental clearance certificates.

“As officials, whatever decisions you make must be for the protection of the environment. Activities that use renewable energy can help to mitigate global warming. Human beings are greedy, we only think of making money and that destroys the environment.”

The minister further said that birds like the damara tern, which are found between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay will become extinct if destructive activities in those areas continue.

“The coastal region of Namibia is made up of unique features which include the oldest desert in the world. Its renowned as the place where the Namib Desert meets the cold Atlantic Ocean. These features provide Namibia with an influx of tourists which contribute to the economic growth of the country and must be protected at all cost.”

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