So often legislation put in place to help protect the environment (humans included) from pollution or other detrimental activity doesn’t actually prove useful, mainly because enforcement and monitoring of said laws is such a laborious task.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs seems to be making progress, with the use of the Green Scorpions, in doing some environmental law enforcement of big polluters. Finally.
Silicon Smelters (Rand Carbide) who operate in the Witwatersrand, were found guilty of contravening the provisions of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (NEM:AQA), for operating without an atmospheric emission licence. In addition, they were found guilty of contravening the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) by unlawfully and intentionally committing an act which caused or was likely to cause significant pollution to the environment.
They were fined R3million, of which half was suspended on conditions stipulated by the ruling judge. I’m glad about some action being taken and punishment being dealt, but I think the were let off quite leniently. R1.5million for years of operating illegally? They were in contravention of legislation as far back as 1983! I’m positive their profits are in the tens of millions at least, so these fines are probably as affective as a little twisted pinch of the ear of a naughty child.
Still, a great stride for green justice.
Department of Environmental Affairs 1, Big Polluters, 0.