NEMA Resorts to Express Penalty Scheme to Deter Environmental Breaches

Driving a car without a dustbin will attract a fine of six Million Shillings. This is part of the fines that have been issued by the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA to curb non-compliance to environmental laws.

According to NEMA, effective April 1st, the authority will implement the Express Penalty Scheme-EPS for individuals and organizations that breach the National Environment Act.

Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, NEMA Executive Director Dr. Barirega Akankwasa said breaches such as failing to conduct an environment and social impact assessment or Environment Risk Assessment – ERA for a community project will be liable to pay a fine of one billion Shillings or serve a jail sentence of 15 years. A company that flouts the same will be fined six billion Shillings.

Also, entities that fail to conduct an annual environment audit will be fined a penalty of one billion Shillings. Equally, companies that fail to display the certificate of approval in a conspicuous place will face a penalty of one billion Shillings.

According to Dr. Akankwasa, destroying or damaging or disturbing wetlands in a manner likely to cause adverse effects on the environment will attract a penalty of three million Shillings depending on the gravity of the damage.

NEMA also pointed out that offenders who mismanage garbage around residential buildings or litter commercial building premises like shopping malls and arcades will be fined six million Shillings. The maximum penalty also applies to throwing bottles on the streets.

Mismanagement of plastics, exporting or importing and manufacturing or using and re-using plastic products made up of polymerase or propylene that are below 30 microns as required by law will attract a penalty of 100 million Shillings. 

Discharge of pollutants into the environment contrary to standards will attract a fine of six billion Shillings depending on the prevailing circumstances.  A meeting notice in excess of the permissible noise levels especially by places of worship such as mosques, churches, and street preaching will attract a maximum fine of 10 million Shillings.

According to Akankwasa, NEMA is in the advanced stages of developing a full schedule of the breaches and corresponding fines which will be shared with the public before enforcement starts.

However, manpower to enforce the penalty remains an uphill task to implement the administrative express penalty but NEMA maintains it will rely on the regular police, the army, and other sister agencies of Government like the National Forestry Authority – NFA, Uganda National Roads Authority – UNRA to enforce the standards to conserve the environment. 

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