The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) surpassed its annual target for projects considered in the year 2023.
In a statement, ZEMA Acting Director Maxwell Nkoya said the Environmental Assessment Committee of the Board (EAC) considered a total of 1,129 projects against the annual target of 1,000 target for the year 2023.
He said the total investment cost for all considered projects stood at US$ 6,761,439,050.11 which is equivalent to ZMK 172,010,874,206.02.
And Mr. Nkoya noted that of the total projects considered, 1129 projects were approved while 51 projects were rejected due to inadequate or lack of mitigation measures as well as for being located in environmentally sensitive locations.
He further stated that a total of 20 projects were deferred due to insufficient project information for decision-making.
The ZEMA Acting Director General noted that the EAC held 12 Ordinary and 6 Extra-Ordinary meetings in the year 2023 and considered projects from the Mining, Infrastructure, Tourism, Agriculture/Forestry as well as Energy sectors.
He said among the notable projects considered in the year included applications to set up waste disposal sites for Chama and Rufunsa Town Councils.
Mr. Nkoya the two Local Authorities intend to set up disposal sites which will consist of waste sorting bays for recycling, incinerators for medical waste with air pollution abatement equipment and cells for burying solid waste.
He added that both dumpsites are expected to handle not less than four tonnes of waste per week.
Mr. Nkoya stated that the disposal sites will each be located more than 5 kilometers away from human settlements.
“This is an important factor as the nature of activities at such facilities have potential to cause pollution and contribute to the spread of diseases.”
“The Agency is elated by the proactiveness exhibited by some Local Authorities who are working towards expanding their waste management infrastructure and introducing recycling in view of the onset of rains.”
“The projects were approved in line with the Environmental Management Act No. 12, 2011 and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1997.” Mr. Nkoya said
And Mr. Nkoya implored stakeholders and the general public to participate in the EIA process and be part of decision-making in 2024 by providing timely feedback on proposed projects as this has an impact on the country’s developmental agenda.