The section of Environmental management was established in May 2009 with the appointment of one Chief environmental Officer since then the section has grown to 5 officials.
The roles, functions, responsibilities and legal mandate of the Environmental Management section in the Emfuleni Local Municipality as provided in the Constitution of South Africa and in different Environmental and other relevant legislation.
Section A reviews the powers, functions and duties of a Local Municipality in order to establish the legal mandate and jurisdiction of Environmental Management within the Local sphere of Government.
Section B focuses on the applicable Environmental legislation relevant to the establishment of Environmental Management sections in Local Municipalities.
High levels of water pollution are found as a result of high levels of e-coli as well as heavy metals from industrial pollution both which emanate from both inside and outside the municipality.
Wetlands are highly sensitive and are showing signs of disturbance largely as a result of human settlement.
Although a large proportion of bigger industries in Emfuleni currently prescribe to ISO 14000 or are in the process of prescribing, significant air and water pollution persists.
Measures to improve Environmental reporting across the Emfuleni Local Municipality are urgently needed. The monitoring and enforcement of both point source and non-point source water and air pollution which affect the health of Emfuleni residence, needs to be improved. Also improve regulation of industries is required.
Emfuleni Local Municipality has not yet adopted approved Environmental Management Systems.
The above environmental challenges are but a few examples that Emfuleni Local Municipality is confronted with. In light of the above mentioned challenges it is important to understand the place of Emfuleni Local municipality's Environmental Management in the constitutional co-operative governance framework as far as it pertain to powers, functions and responsibilities of a Local Government.
Section A – Powers, Functions, Duties and Responsibilities of Emfuleni Local Municipality's Environmental Management Section.
The municipality is primarily responsible for drafting and implementing the following strategic environmental document which are very useful in promoting sustainable development for the local government. Hereunder is the list of documents and a summary of the aim thereof:
Integrated Environmental Policy Document
- Outcome: To ensure that all activities in the municipality incorporate the environmental principle of sustainable development.
Open Space Framework – Not to be confused with Environmental Management Framework
- Outcome: To facilitate sustainable management and interlinking of open spaces.
Environmental Best Practice Guidelines
- Outcome: To align procurement in the municipality towards environmental best practice
Municipal Air Quality Management Plan
- Outcome: To plan for air quality improvement and management.
Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Strategy.
- Outcome: To ensure sustainable energy management and reduce the effects and impacts of climate change.
Environmental Educational Strategy
- Outcome: To promote and increase Environmental awareness in the municipality.
Environmental Impact Management
- All municipalities are required to plan and manage all their activities in an environmentally conscious manner which embraces sustainable development.
- The planning and development of infrastructure, housing and service delivery which takes environmental opportunities and constrains into account.
- Sustainable management of biodiversity, open spaces, conservation areas and natural resources.
- Consideration of environmental matters when planning economic and social activities.
- Sustainable energy approaches, improvement of air quality and sustainable water management and the conservation of cultural resources.
- Formation of environmental forums to improve environmental reporting in the municipality.
Environmental Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement
- Attending to environmental management complaints in the municipality.
- Conduct site inspection and investigations on industries.
- Creation of industrial forums to create awareness of environmental legislations.
- Cultivation and development of co-operation between industries and the municipality.
- Air quality improvement and management by regulating fuel burning appliances in the municipality.
- Drafting and implementation of Environmental Management by-laws.
Industrial Environmental Impact Management
- Regular meetings with industries to increase co-operation.
- Identification and creation of a database for all industries with activities that have an impact on the environment.
- Regulating industries by regular site inspections and visits.
- Promote sustainable energy approaches to industries.
- Promote sustainable transport planning and mode of transport to industries.
Air Quality Management
- Drafting and implementing an air quality management plan.
- Draft air quality by-law and enforcing them.
- Assist industries to comply by setting standards.
- Promote air quality awareness in the municipality.
- Reduce impact of air pollution on human health and on the environmental by implementing interventions that stop air pollution.
- Up keeping and management of air quality monitoring stations.
- Monitor compliance with conditions of atmospheric emission licenses.
- Develop and maintain a database of industries with controlled emitters.
- Control diesel vehicle emissions by regularly testing the vehicles with the help of traffic.
Section B – Legal Mandate for the existance of Environmental Management Sections in Local Municipalities.
The environmental management is constitutional prescription all three spheres of government are enjoined to cooperate in pursuit of the functions as stated in section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) guarantees everyone the right:
(a) To an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing and;
(b) To have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generation, through reasonable legislative and other measures that –
(i) Prevent pollution and ecological degradation,
(ii) Promote conservation, and
(iii) Secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
- It is in this context that the Constitution places a positive duty on a municipal sphere of government to take reasonable legislative and other measures to ensure that issues listed under section 24(b) are attended to.
- Reasonable legislative and other measures are by-laws, policies and management plans that an environmental Management section within a municipality must draft and implement. The municipality cannot rely on other spheres of government for this function.