National News

Gov’t urged to create environment protection body

By Morris Dogga

A land use trainer and Geographic Information System Coordinator at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is urging the Government to create an independent body that would evaluate environmental pollution in the oil producing areas.

Speaking to Juba Monitor during the closure of a workshop on extractive industries sustainability last week, Maria Carbo said there is need for the government to create an independent body to assess the level of damages on environment caused by pollution in the petroleum producing areas.

“One of the concerns is that there has not been any actual study to quantify the amount of pollution at the moment because it has not been a priority of probably the government or the entities to do it,” Carbo said.

“There is need to have some independent agency such as natural resource management committee or an environmental management authority a sort of an independent body that safeguard the environment,” she added.

Carbo said it is important to prioritize and do assessment on the level of pollution.

“If it is not done properly and sustainably and it is only the short term that is being looked at, other things such as the environment or other safeguards such as the communities are being overlooked because of pressure from other sectors,” she said.

Carbo added that there is need to strengthen guidance on environmental social impact assessments since the assessments were done some years ago before South Sudan got its independence.

“If there is uncontrolled exploration of resource in certain areas, they will be at risk because a lot of the protected areas in South Sudan are within concession. So once extraction happens, if it is not managed and if it’s not done in a holistic and integrated approach and if land use planning is not done appropriately in a consultative way taking to account all stakeholders, the danger is there and biodiversity is probably one of the most fragile natural resources,” she said.

Jaden Tongun Emilio, the undersecretary for forestry in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said they are going to take the issue seriously.

Emilio said the ministry will set up a regulatory body to oversee all the environmental issues in the extractive industry.

He however said there are no enough resources to facilitate the implementation of the committees.

“Yes there must be people placed in those places to oversee what is being done in order to report and actions taken but if there is no coordination or even communication also hampers the implementation,” he said.

“The human resources are there but are not always adequate and even the financial resources are not always adequate,” Emilio added.




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