- A report on the state of the environment in South Africa showed a general deterioration in the country's environment, a worrying development for South African opposition and activists, particularly those of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
According to the DA's spokesmerson on environmental affairs, Gareth Morgan, South African government needs to strengthen the national environment management Act so as to arrest the threatening environmental deterioration.
"The report notes among other things that increasing pollution and declining air quality are harming people's health; that natural resources are being exploited in an unsustainable way, threatening the functioning of ecosystems; that water quality is declining; that up to twenty species of fish are over-exploited; and that land degradation remains a serious problem," Mr Gareth swiftly reacted in a dispatch.
He said since the country's economy required a healthy environment, these indicators must not be taken lightly by the government.
Mr Gareth also talked about the recent proposed ammendments to the act, which gives powers to the Environmental Minister and MECs to grant exemptions from environmental impact assessments and provisions of the act that deal with environmental authorities.
He described these ammendments as disturbing and of great concern because they would not help reverse the current trends either.
Gareth warned the South African government of being mindful that poverty reducion would be made difficult, particularly for rural citiwens, if the state of the environment continued to worsen.
"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.
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