Ema ups fight against illegal import of hazardous substances
THE Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has stepped up its collaboration with other State agencies such as police and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) in fighting the illegal importation and use of hazardous substances in the country.
Ema said the move has been taken to ensure that the public has no access to substances such as cyanide as they can make use of them in poaching activities. This comes as some elephants have been killed through cyanide poisoning in the Hwange National Park.
Ema Matabeleland North provincial manager Mrs Chipo Mpofu-Zuze said the move was informed by past experiences which show that cyanide poisoning has become a popular method of poaching during the months of August, September and October in the province.
“Our main concern, however, is the substances which are coming in through undesignated places and we also have a feeling that some hazardous substances are coming in concealed in these trucks, omalayitsha (cross border commuters). You just see truck loads coming from South Africa through Beitbridge or Plumtree but what they will be carrying no one knows. But as far as the legal points are concerned, we have a well-crafted process of tracking these substances,” said Mrs Mpofu-Zuze.
She said Ema was working with other arms of the State to ensure that hazardous substances do not get into the wrong hands.
“As you know the Government is pushing for the ease of doing business, likewise we have collaborated with other entities including the police to make sure that we curb the dangerous use of cyanide. We are also appealing to the public to work with us by reporting any spillages of these substances but they should not get close to them,” she said.
The movement of hazardous substances and hazardous waste into and through Zimbabwe is governed by the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27) as read with the Statutory Instruments 12 of 2007, 10 of 2007, 77 of 2009, 99 of 2008, 5 of 2011 and other ancillary regulation.
The new regulations require import licences with Ema implementing a tracking system to ascertain the destination as well as the storage of such substances. Importers are also required to submit monthly reports to Ema, specifying the quantities of what they would have brought into the country.