Government needs to strengthen the National Environment Management
Act as South Africa's environment is deteriorating, the Democratic
Alliance said on Wednesday.
The DA's spokesman on environmental affairs, Gareth Morgan, said the
State of the Environment Report, released last week, showed a general
decline in the country's environment.
"The report notes among other things that increasing pollution and
declining air quality are harming people's health, and that natural
resources are being exploited in an unsustainable way, threatening the
functioning of ecosystems."
Morgan said these indicators could not be taken lightly as the
success of the country's economy requires a healthy environment.
He added that proposed amendments to the act, which were recently
released for public comment, were of great concern.
The proposals include giving the minister and MECs the power to
grant exemptions from environmental impact assessments and provisions
of the act that deal with environmental authorisations.
No public participation
"There is no guidance given to the minister and the MECs on how to
exercise this discretion, and there is no provision made for public
participation in the making of these decisions," he said.
The amendments, if passed, would not help reverse current trends,
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