Efficacy of the environmental laws in Zambia's mining sector.

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Mulongwe, Simukali
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The University of Zambia
The continued pollution from the mining activities in Zambia both legacy and current operations is associated with the weak and unclear existing environmental legislation coupled with poor institutional arrangement of enforcement and monitoring. Implementing policies that are weak and not in line with the best international practices can have unintended consequences. One such example is lead contamination in Kabwe District and other legacy environmental liabilities have impacted on the communities negatively (effect of Sulphur dioxide in Kankoyo township of Mufulira) and also the old tailing dumps on the Copperbelt Province have continued to silt and pollute the streams. In the recent past, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has through heft loans from the World Bank attempted to conduct environmental remediation and rehabilitation as a result of both legacy and current environmental liabilities; a situation avoidable if there was an effective environmental framework in place. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study which employed case study and phenomenological study designs was to assess the efficacy of the environmental laws in Zambia’s mining sector. The research objective was to analyse the extent to which environmental stewardship in the mining sector is applied. This involved answering questions on the extent to which the environmental stewardship was applied, institutional capacity and enforcement procedures, gaps or weaknesses identified and recommendations of best mining practice. Data collection was conducted through desktop reviews for the case study component and through open ended interview questions. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data based on common themes and themes formulated from the interview question. The research revealed that existing anomalies and non-compliance could be associated to both lack of good and clear pieces of legislation governing the mining sector, poor institutional arrangement on environmental governance (there is no proper coordination especially with the local municipalities) and irregular of inspections, monitoring and enforcements due to resource constraints. The study recommended that the policy governing environment in the mining sector be revised to respond to current issues, introduce the green court to speedy and strengthen enforcement, decentralise Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Mines Safety Department (MSD) to have physical presence in all the provinces. Keywords: Efficacy, Environmental Laws, Pollution, Remediation.
Mining law--Zambia. , Environmental laws -- Zambia. , Mining Laws--Environmental.