An appraisal of the environmental impact assessment in Zambia

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Cheela, Muyunda
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An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects. Generally the rationale behind environmental impact assessment is to ensure that decision makers as well as the relevant stakeholders consider the ensuing environmental impacts when deciding whether to proceed with a developmental project. Environmental impact assessment is recognized as an essential component in the promotion of sustainable development. However, it is argued that, there is lack of definitive utilization of the mechanism of environmental impact assessment in Zambia. Therefore, it is necessary to determine to what extent the mechanism of Environmental Impact Assessment as provided by the Pollution Control (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations: statutory instrument No. 28 of, 1997 is achieving it's intended objective.This paper discusses the Law relevant to Environmental Impact Assessment, in order to establish the extent of Zambia's commitment to the environmental protection goals embodied under the Environmental Impact Assessment mechanism. This paper establishes that in theory, to a large extent Zambia has shown its commitment to these goals by enacting regulations and environmental protection laws that cover the fundamental sectors of the economy and types of environmental degradation. The paper also examines internal and external response to the Environmental Impact Assessment in Zambia. However, the dissertation establishes that in practice, the general Zambian law on environmental impact assessment is not as effective as it is required to be as a result of the need to achieve economic development goals at the cost of achieving environmental protection goals embodied in the environmental impact assessment mechanism. The dissertation also establishes that this has resulted in using it as a decision aiding tool for economic develop. This dissertation also shows the criticisms, weaknesses, challenges and inadequacies of the practical application of the existing Environmental Impact Assessment mechanism in Zambia. Finally, recommendations have been made regarding how to address the inadequacies of the Environmental Impact Assessment mechanism in Zambia so as to improve it and ensure that its goal of promoting sustainable development is adequately and effectively achieved. A conclusion is drawn showing that in Zambia there is a situation where survival takes precedence over environmental protection resulting in a situation where environmental protection goals embodied under the Environmental Impact Assessment mechanism are undermined. It has also been shown that environmental protection can coexist with developmental goals. This can be achieved by putting in place a proper mechanism that can ensure that trade and developmental activities results in sustainable development. It has also been stated that ideally, this can best be achieved through a well organized system of environmental impact assessment.
Environmental impact statements--Zambia , Environmental engineering