the duty of care
protection of workers refusing to do environmentally hazardous work
control of emergency incidents
access to environmental information and protection of whistle blowers
legal standing to enforce environmental laws
Promotes co-regulation by enabling the establishment of environmental management co-operation agreements to promote the principles of environmental management. The Minister and every provincial government and local authority may enter into environmental management co-operation agreements with any person or community for the purpose of promoting compliance with the principles laid down in the Act.
Environment Conservation Act (Act 73 of 1989)
The purpose of the Environmental Conservation Act (ECA) is to provide for the effective protection and the control of activities that may have a detrimental effect on the environment. The following sections are important:
Waste Management and Littering
Sections 19 and 19a provide for a general prohibition against littering and the removal of litter
Section 20 deals with waste management, including the establishment and operation of waste disposal sites. Such sites may only be operated under a permit issued by the Minister of Water Affairs
Section 21 provides for the identification of waste and sewerage disposal and chemical treatment activities by DEAT, specifically those activities which may have a substantial detrimental effect on the environment
In terms of Section 24 of this Act, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has prescribed regulations on waste management (Government Notice R1196, 8 July 1994), requiring a permit for the establishment and operation of a waste disposal site. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has published Minimum Requirement Guidelines, which can be included as permit conditions.
Section 26 (b, c, and j) provides for regulations for collection of information on generation and disposal of waste.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Regulations were promulgated under sections 21, 22 and 26, in September 1997 (Government Gazette No’s R1182, R1183 and R1184). The regulations list activities that may not be commenced without an environmental impact assessment, prescribe the EIA procedure, and designate the province as the competent authority. Applications in respect of listed activities are directed to the relevant provincial authority (for North West the relevant authority is the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment)
Limited Development Areas and Protected Natural Environments
Section 16 and 17 provides for the establishment of Protected Natural Environments (PNE’s) and management advisory committees in respect of PNE’s.
The purpose of a PNE is to promote the preservation of specific ecological processes, natural systems, natural beauty or species of indigenous wildlife or the preservation of biotic diversity in general within a designated area.
Section 23 and 27 provide for the declaration of Limited Development Areas. Certain developments or activities within a Limited Development area are prohibited, unless authorised by the Provincial MEC.
White Paper on Environmental Management Policy (April 1999)
The White Paper on Environmental Management Policy is an overarching policy framework that sets out a vision, policy principles and strategic goals for environmental management and sustainable use of natural resources in South Africa. Sectoral policies must subscribe to this policy framework.
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