National Environmental Act to be amended
By Thameenah Razeek
Cabinet approval has been granted to revamp the National Environmental Act with 42 amendments. Among the proposed 42 amendments is a mechanism to impose a fee from factories based on the level of contamination in the wastewater they discharge.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet Media briefing yesterday (8) held at the Government Information Department, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Udaya Gammanpila said the factory owners will then be financially motivated to discharge more cleansed wastewater into the environment.
He said the National Environmental Act No. 47 of 1980 will be amended to reflect technological improvements and increased public awareness of environmental degradation. “In the face of environmental degradation, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) lacks the authority to take action against environmental destruction. It’s like having a dog who can bark, but not bite,” he said.
Speaking further, he stressed until now, the CEA’s primary mechanisms for environmental protection were Environmental Permits and Environmental Risk Assessments. Highlighting that the proposed revisions will add new sections to the Act that are essential for chemical management, he said the Act would also include provisions for the management of hazardous waste.
Provisions for estimating natural resources and rectifying environmental harm caused by gem and sand mining are among the other proposed revisions. To examine the combined environmental impact of a number of projects, a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment will be added to the environmental law.