Sunday, February 20, 2011
By Darious Kapembwa and Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Sun 20 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT
KITWE mayor Elias Kamanga says management of mining and mine-related activities has continued to be an environmental challenge for Kitwe and other mining towns. And Copperbelt minister Mwansa Mbulakulima says more needs to be done to ensure sustainable environmental management.
During the launch of the Kitwe District State of Environment Outlook Report at Hotel Edinburgh, Kamanga said population growth and the unmatched investment in supporting infrastructure also remained a challenge for the district.
“These challenges, however, require stakeholder collaboration in addressing them. For this reason, the report also proposes actions, which must be undertaken to enhance environmental management at district level. My council on its part will endeavour to undertake all actions proposed in this report in order to avoid consequences of poor environmental management,” he said.
Kamanga urged mining companies such as KCM and Mopani to put the report to effective use in responding to the challenges caused by the mining industry.
And Mbulakulima, who was represented by Kitwe district commissioner Macdonald Mtine, claimed that the government had made significant progress in addressing many environmental challenges the past few decades.
“Pollution from industrial sources has been reduced; forest coverage and the number and size of natural protected areas have increased with forests covering an estimated 60 per cent of land area, ozone depleting substances have largely been phased out and the use of natural resources improved,” Mbulakulima said.
He said the remaining environmental challenges being experienced were of complex or global nature and their impacts might only become apparent over a long time frame.
He named the challenges as climate change, ozone depletion, the unsustainable management of water resources and the health impacts of pollution and hazardous chemicals.
Mbulakulima said the government had established legal and institutional frameworks to guide environmental management in Zambia by enacting laws and regulations and developing plans and programmes that include the National Conservation Strategy of 1985 and the Environmental Action Plan of 1994, the environmental protection and pollution control Act of 1990 which led to the subsequent establishment of Environmental Council of Zambia among others.
Mbulakulima said achieving sustainable development in Zambia required access to data and information so that decision makers would reach the level of knowledge and understanding needed for successful programme planning and service delivery.