By Alfred Byenkya
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is set to implement the Express Penalty Scheme intended to punish Ugandans for destroying the environment
This new approach was announced by the authority in a press statement they released on Wednesday 8th, February, 2023.
They said that noise pollution by bars, churches and other people will attract an express penalty of Sh.10m upon conviction and also failing to immediately reduce noise to a permissible noise level when required to do so, attracts a maximum fine of up to Sh10m.
Another serious environment breach is waste management that shows that leaving rubbish outside residential premises will attract a maximum fine of up to Sh6m, uttering from commercial buildings attracts a maximum fine of up to Sh6m and depositing rubbish or waste on a roadside, or ditch attracts a maximum fine of up to Sh6m, depositing rubbish in a river, stream, lake, pond, canal or channel attracts a fine.
The third breach is about importing, exporting, manufacturing, using or reusing plastic carrier bags or plastic products made of polymers of ethane (polythene) and propylene that are below 30 microns will attract a fine of up to Sh100m.
The other is Destroying, damaging or disturbing a wetland, River Banks and Lake Shores in a manner that has or is likely to have an adverse effect on any plant or animal attracts a fine of up to Shs3m failing or neglecting or refusing to protect a lakeshore in accordance with the regulations attracts a fine of up to Sh3m. to Sh6m and littering from cars or driving a car without a dustbin attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs6m
NEMA stated that failure to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Environment, Risk Assessment for the projects that require ESIA or ERA will attract a fine not exceeding Sh1 billion for individuals or fifteen years in prison or both and Sh6 billion for corporate bodies; Failure to conduct an annual environment audit will attract a penalty of up to Sh 1 billion or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both and failure to display the complete certificate of approval of Environmental and social impact Assessment is up to Sh1 billion for an individual and up to Sh 6 billion for a corporate entity.
NEMA guided that the full schedule of breaches and corresponding maximum fees and bank account(s) to which payments will be made are available on the NEMA website.
“NEMA retains the right to suspend operations of a facility, withdraw the ESIA Certificate, Permit, License and other relevant documentation or to commence prosecution until the fine is paid. A person who does not prefer a voluntary fine will be subject to prosecution and imprisonment or a fine as determined by the courts of law,” NEMA stated.
The body called upon the general public to strictly observe Environment best practices to avoid being penalized.