Fines for violating environmental laws not prohibitive
The Chitungwiza Municipality was recently fined US$1000 by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for disposing raw sewage they have drained from a septic tank right in a place where people live, in Unit O Extension, amid reports that the fines are not deterrent enough.
Corporations and urban councils have over the years been charged for flouting environmental laws chief among them, Marondera, Chitungwiza, and City of Harare which was also taken to court recently over the parcelling out of wetlands to land developers.
The Chitungwiza municipality was charged under EMA Act chapter 20:27 (unlawful discharging of waste or effluent without a license).
According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA)’s Education and Publicity Manager Steady Kangata the situation is so because the fines charged are not the punitive so corporations can pollute and pay.
“The fines are more prohibitive to individuals and not large companies. They can afford to pollute and pay the fine, and it is not painful to them, that’s why the ill is going on,” he told ZimNews. net in an interview.
Offences against the environment attract penalties that range from US$20 to US$5 000 and the fines are gazetted by the Attorneys General’s office, and EMA is only mandated to effect these fines against offenders.
Although we couldn’t managed to get a comment from the Chitungwiza municipality, it is alleged that the workers did the job using council truck which was not sanctioned, as a piece job in which they are said to have pocketed $80 for the job. The incident happened two weeks ago.