With competition of land for residential, agricultural and commercial purposes and increased economic activity, pollution is bound to happen. The Environment Department has the mandate to control the different types of pollution (i.e. Water, air, land & noise) as stipulated in the Environment Protection Act 2016. The EPA provides for the protection, improvement and preservation of the environment by using standards and guidelines to ensure the fulfillment of its international commitment for the prevention, control and abatement of environment pollution. The EPA regulates all pollution on land, in water and in air. The Act makes provisions for regulating emissions in air as well as noise pollution.
The Environment Department works closely with other regulatory bodies such as Public Health Authority, Seychelles Licensing Authority, and Landscape and Waste Management Agency when dealing with pollution. Several activities are usually undertaken and these include:
- Regulation of activities e.g. issuing of permits for Sewerage Treatment Plants, sources of emissions to air etc. ;
- Actions against littering, transportation of waste and other materials;
- Provision of facilities for disposal of waste – all waste should be disposed at the Providence Landfill
- Public education campaigns; and
- Enforcement procedures.
To ensure that pollution level remain at minimum, the Department uses three main tools;
1. Public Health Education
Sensitization programmes to educate members of the public on the benefits of a clean and unpolluted environment using the media (radio, television, local daily news papers) are vital. In such programs, the public are given opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification regarding their actions in the environment. The Ministry organizes activities on both national and district level (e.g. Clean Up the World) to encourage the involvement of the public in maintaining a healthy environment. Educating young people on the various aspects of their environment and creating the desire in them from a young age to protect their environment.
2. Enforcement of Laws and Regulations
Government has a set of regulations when implementing and enforcing pollution. The Environment Protection Act 2016 (Link in Document) and its regulations covers all issues to do with the environment and its protection. It stipulates what can and what cannot be allowed and also dictates the penalty carried by each offence. This act guide the Ministry on the actions to take when dealing with an offender.
When enforcing the EPA, the inspectors introduce themselves as Environment Police from the Environment Department and give their names and show their Identification Badge following a complaint. After a thorough inspection, the inspector will inform the offender about the offence committed and instruct him/her how to rectify the situation, and any penalty which will be imposed as a result of his/her violation or nuisance.
2.1 The Ministry issues warning letters
Upon the identification of an offence or nuisance during a site investigation, the offender is given a verbal and written warning as regards to the nuisance and advised on how to rectify the situation. The written document is also copied to any other organization or individual needing to be informed of the Department’s decision regarding the issue. Warning letters are issued to offenders committing very minor offences.
2.2 Enforcement Notice
If the offender fails to comply with directives as set out in a warning letter from the Department and the Enforcement officers found that the problems have not yet been rectified, an Enforcement Notice is sent to him/her instructing him/her how to rectify the situation within a time period. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, an enforcement notice is issued on the same day, instructing the offender how to rectify the situation and also imposing a fine to him/her. The offender is generally given between 7 to 21 days, depending on the gravity of the offence or nuisance, to comply with any directive set by the inspector.
2.3 Prohibition Notice
A Prohibition Notice is very similar to an Enforcement Notice, except that it is issued in the cases where companies, factories, hotels or other such organizations are likely to contravene the law. It is issued in cases where the manner in which a project or activity is being carried out involves an imminent risk of serious pollution to the environment. In the notice, the Department instructs the person in charge of the said project or activity to stop the same and rectify the situation before it gets worse.
Any person who fails to comply with an enforcement or prohibition notice is guilty of an offence and upon conviction is liable to a fine or a term of imprisonment or both.