francis nhema 08-11-10 ed.jpgDelays in the enforcement and in the passing of judgement on perpetrators of environmental crimes such as illegal dumping of waste and pollution are a major drawback to the efforts of the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in ensuring the observation of environmental laws.

This was said by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Cde Francis Nhema in an interview with ZBC News in Harare on Wednesday.

Cde Nhema told ZBC that the agency has issued over 3 000 penalty tickets for various cases of violation of the environmental law in the last 12 months.

Cases of rampant dumping of waste, including refuse and pollution of some major sources of water, especially around the capital are becoming a major concern to residents and environmentalists.

Some companies operating in the manufacturing sector have been found guilty of polluting the city’s major sources of drinking water.

The cities’ and towns environments are also under siege from indiscriminate sand extractors who leave gaping holes and alleys on the environment.

Minister Nhema said EMA’s educational programmes seem to be falling on deaf ears while enforcement and passing of judgement on the offenders is slow.

He said EMA is only empowered to educate communities and create environmental awareness, but it does not have enforcement powers.