Care for Nature Zambia Executive Director, Nsama Kearns, says there is need for authorities to strengthen environmental regulations laws in the country.
Kearns is concerned that the miners of manganese and other minerals in Luapula, among others, were polluting the environment at will.
“Enforcement of the law on flouting of environmental regulations needs to be enhanced to deter polluters from acting with impunity,” Kearns told delegates during a discussion at the Sweden-Zambia Mining Forum on Sustainable Mining in Kitwe on Friday.
She named Luapula Province as an example of an area where some mining investors had no regard for environmental welfare.
Kearns alerted that miners in that jurisdiction were polluting water bodies and threatening biodiversity.
She warned that if nothing was urgently done to address the problem, the impact of pollution in Luapula would be so severe that it would be hard to make amends.
Kearns cautioned that as much as the country was creating jobs and investments in mining, there was a great need to pay attention to how the environment was being treated.
She noted that apart from the visible poverty in areas where high-grade manganese and sugilite was being mined, there was also a risk of loss of the environment through land grabbing, water pollution and threats on forests.
Kearns advised regulators to step up efforts at enforcing environmental laws to ensure that the mining of critical minerals such as manganese, did not negatively affect community members.
“Investors should view community members as a resource that can be relied upon and not like an obstacle that should be chased to facilitate mining,” she stated.
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