News

Kandjeke reveals Namibia’s hazardous waste dilemma

Summary

Namibia does not have laws and regulations in place to guide the operations of local authorities and hazardous waste producers, a situation which has led to dangerous waste being dumped along with general household refuse.A performance audit report on…

Namibia does not have laws and regulations in place to guide the operations of local authorities and hazardous waste producers, a situation which has led to dangerous waste being dumped along with general household refuse.

A performance audit report on hazardous waste management compiled by Auditor General Junias Kandjeke and tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday indicates that at present, there are only two hazardous waste disposal sites in the country, one in Windhoek and another at Walvis Bay.

Concluded in September 2020, the report covers 2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18 to determine whether the environment ministry and its stakeholders have put in place adequate laws and regulations to manage hazardous waste.

While the audit covered the entire country, only four regions, namely Erongo, Khomas, Oshana and ||Kharas were visited for physical assessment.

The auditors found that of the nine LAs visited in the four regions, only six, with the exception of Windhoek, Oshakati and Walvis Bay, were operating with waste management regulations, while four operated waste disposal sites without environmental clearance certificates (ECCs).

During the period under review, 67 per cent of the LAs did not ensure that hazardous waste generators operating within their jurisdictions are registered with the exception of Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Ongwediva.

The Windhoek municipality for instance had 63 registered hazardous waste generators during the period in question, but only 13 prepared and submitted their waste management plans.

As for the Ongwediva Town Council, none of their eight hazardous waste producers submitted their plans, neither did Walvis Bay’s seven hazardous waste producers.

The LAs also did not ensure that 65 per cent of the hazardous waste producers contained the waste in suitable refuse containers, tank and vessels that are kept in secure storage.

For instance, it was noted that old X-ray machines that are no longer in use at the Oshakati, Mariental and Keetmanshoop state hospitals were stored at their premises as there is no waste disposal facility in the country to cater for radioactive waste.

The auditors recommended that LAs put in place, among others, measures to ensure that hazardous waste is separate from general household waste.

“The Ministries of Environment and Tourism and Urban and Rural Development must develop national laws and regulations to guide the operation of all LAs and hazardous waste producers,” Kandjeke recommended.

Source: Namibia Press Agency