Environmental Management Act (EMA)
KEY CHANGES IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ACT
What is EMA?
The Government of the Republic of Zambia enacted the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act (EPPCA) in 1990, at a time when the country realised that development without regard to sound environmental management, had potential to lead to environmental challenges and disasters. Over the years, it has become apparent that new environmental issues have emerged.
The new and emerging issues include for example; climate change, pollution from Persistent Organic Pollutants and electronic waste. To address these challenges as well as to enhance the control and management of existing ones, a new Act, the Environmental Management Act (EMA) No. 12 of 2011, has been enacted. The EMA repealed and replaced the EPPCA and provides for the continued existence of the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) and re-names it as the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
The Environmental management Act Summarised
Provides for the superiority of the EMA and the right to a clean, safe and healthy environment subject to the Constitution and defines key terms used such as aquatic environment, contaminant and environmental
Deals with the establishment of the ZEMA to implement and enforce the provisions of the EMA. This includes issues relating to:
Section 7: Continuation and re-naming of the Council.
Section 9: Functions of the Agency.
Section 11: Constitution of the Board of the Agency and appointment of members of the Board.
Section 12: Functions of the Board.
Section 13: Appointment of the Director General, Secretary and other staff of the Agency.
Section 14: Establishment of an inspectorate and appointment of inspectors to monitor and enforce measures for protection of the environment and prevention of pollution.
Section 15: Powers of inspectors.
Section 17: Appointment of honorary inspectors.
Section 18: Appointment of staff of the Agency as prosecutors
Provides for the development of State of Environment Reports, national environmental action plans, environmental management strategies and strategic environmental assessments. It also outlines procedures for declaration of environmentally protected areas and conservation of biological diversity and requirements for conducting of environmental impact assessments.
Deals with prohibition of pollution of air, land and water and protection of the environment. It also promotes cleaner production, sustainable consumption of goods and services as well as environmental preparedness.
Section 32: Prohibits the discharge of any contaminant or pollutant into the environment without a licence obtained from the Agency.
Section 34: Prescribes the procedure for application, grant, modification, etc. and revocation of an emission licence.
Section 58: Places obligation on producers of products that have potential to pollute the environment to employ such measures essential to the minimisation of waste through treatment, reclamation, re-use, recovery or recycling.
Section 77: Prohibits the importation, introduction, etc.of invasive alien species
Deals with cooperation of Government with other governments and local and international organisations in order to protect the regional and global environment
Mandates the Agency to maintain an environmental database and register with relevant environmental information. It also provides for the Agency to conduct environmental education and awareness programmes and research.
Section 87: Places an obligation on the Agency to develop, operate and maintain a Central Environmental Information System which shall contain findings, data and statistics in the course of environmental management.
Section 90: Requires the Agency to create and maintain an environmental information registry with information such as lists of Acts, policies, statutory instruments, international environmental agreements to which Zambia is a party and other publications relating to the environment.
Creates a right for members of the public to participate in decision-making in environmental matters and outlines the procedure for participation, public review and hearings.
Deals with creation of a Fund, its administration and application of monies from the Fund.
Gives members of the public a right to initiate review and appeal of decisions of the Agency and the procedure for doing so.
Provides for environmental offences and penalties.
Section 117: Deals with offences relating to hazardous materials and chemicals and their penalties.
Section 120: Deals with offences relating to biological diversity