Wallace Mawire Harare : Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is now set to start monitoring motor vehicles in the country to ensure that they meet the standards for emissions as set out in the atmospheric control regulations, according to EMA Education and Awareness Manager Steady Kangata.
Kangata says that at the beginning of April 2010, EMA deployed a team to South Africa to source necessary equipment such as 20 gas analysers to be used in the control of vehicular air pollution emissions.
“We have got an EMA office in every district and every province in the country, so each of these offices is going to be provided with such equipment,”says Kangata.
He adds that the mobile equipment to be used on the vehicles will be fitted on the exhaust of one’s vehicle and the driver will be asked to rev his vehicle which will eventually show the emissions count,whether it exceeds the required threshold or not.
Mr Kangata says that major vehicle manufacturers now encourage that a reasonable following distance be kept on such instances as the health effects of the products of incomplete combustion have all been documented not to mention the effect on the environment.
“Such situations are however, unacceptable as the EMA Act Cap 20.27 clearly articulates that each and every citizen of the country has the right to a clean,safe and wholesome environment free of any materials that may have deleterious effects on human health,” says Kangata.
He adds that it is against such a background that the EMA which is the chief actor in the implementation of the act has set up a point source monitoring programme which allows for the monitoring of emissions into the atmosphere.
The programme has two facets which are stationery source monitoring and mobile source monitoring.The stationery source monitoring focuses on fixed sources such as industrial emissions which eminate from factory chimneys and ducts.
Such stationery discharge points are obligated under the EMA act Cap 20.27 and atmospheric pollution control regulations S.I.72 of 2009 to undertake comprehensive surveys of the type of gases that they produce and their concentrations subsequent to which the discharge points will be licensed.
Kangata says that the provisions of the license should be adhered to and failure of which his agency may impose a fine, an order to the license holder to undertake a specific course of action or close down the operation.
Issuing of licenses is currently being undertaken nationwide and so far 64 stationery emission points have been registered.
The mobile source aspect of the programme involves the monitoring of motor vehicles to ensure that they meet the standards for emissions as set out in the atmospheric control regulations.Unlike the point source monitoring programme, regulations do not require that motor vehicles be licensed.
Kangata says that nevertheless, vehicles may be stopped at roadblocks for the purposes of testing these emissions.If a vehicle is found to be excessively emitting , a fine may be levied and or the vehicle may be impounded.Repeat offenders may also be prosecuted and may face imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
According to Kangata, the control of emissions has come in the wake of the rising concerns about the impacts of global warming and climate change.He adds that vehicular emissions have remained prevalent for a long time now as a major source of pollution in Zimbabwe.
He says that this has seen countries with tight enforcement of these emissions dumping used vehicles on Zimbabwe’s markets and increasing the levels of air pollution.”The EMA is now out in full force to make sure that vehicular emissions are reduced,” says Kangata.
He further says that air pollution through vehicular and industrial emissions must be reduced whilst the burning of worn out tyres to recover wire for mesh wire production should stop forthwith.He adds that the activity is prevalent in the Sunningdale and Willowvale areas where thick clouds of heavy smoke from the burning tyres is a common sight.
“Every citizen has a responsibility to act in a manner that protects the environment for the benefit of the present and future generations.It can thus be appreciated that the maintenance of one’s vehicle may not only result in personal savings in terms of fuel but may also have a positive impact on the environment.It is in this regard that every Zimbabwean has a role to play in the sustainable management of our environment,” Kangata says.