The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is set to implement the Express Penalty Scheme intended to deter non-compliance to environment laws and to prevent environmental degradation through payment of monetary penalties (fines).
“Under the Express Penalty Scheme, the offender will be required to pay a fine within the prescribed time frame and in a specific bank account. The notice will specify the date and nature of the alleged contravention, a summary of the facts that NEMA or authorized officer alleges, and the amount payable,” NEMA stated.
The fines payable for specific environmental breaches are a computation of currency points where one currency point is equivalent to twenty thousand shillings (Shs20,000) only.
NEMA stated that failure to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Environment, Risk Assessment for the projects that require ESIA or ERA will attract a fine not exceeding Shs 1 billion for individuals or fifteen years in prison or both and Shs 6 billion for corporate bodies; Failure to conduct an annual environment audit will attract a penalty of up to Shs 1 billion or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both and failure to display the complete certificate of approval of Environmental and social impact Assessment is up to Shs 1 billion for an individual and up to Shs 6 billion for a corporate entity.
Destroying, damaging or disturbing a wetland, River Banks and Lake Shores in a manner that has or is likely to have an adverse effect on any plant or animal attracts a fine of up to Shs3,000,000, failing or neglecting or refusing to protect a lakeshore in accordance with the regulations attracts a fine of up to Shs 3,000,000.
Waste mismanagement such as leaving rubbish outside residential premises will attract a maximum fine of up to Shs 6,000,000, uttering from commercial buildings attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs6,000,000 and depositing rubbish or waste on a roadside, or ditch attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs 6,000,000, depositing rubbish in a river, stream, lake, pond, canal or channel attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs6,000,000 and littering from cars or driving a car without a dustbin attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs6,000,000.
Mismanagement of plastics such as importing, exporting, manufacturing, using or reusing plastic carrier bags or plastic products made of polymers of ethane (polythene) and propylene that are below 30 microns will attract a fine of up to Shs100,000,000.
“Activities that result in aggravated pollution or polluting the environment contrary to conditions contained in a pollution control license or permit, discharge or emission of pollutants into the environment contrary to approved standards attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs 6 billion,” NEMA stated.
NEMA added that emitting noise in excess of the permissible noise levels will attract a maximum of up to Shs10,000,000 upon conviction and also failing to immediately reduce noise to a permissible noise level when required to do so, attracts a maximum fine of up to Shs10,000,000.
NEMA guided that the full schedule of breaches and corresponding maximum fees and bank account(s) to which payments will be made are available on the NEMA website.
“NEMA retains the right to suspend operations of a facility, withdraw the ESIA Certificate, Permit, License and other relevant documentation or to commence prosecution until the fine is paid. A person who does not prefer a voluntary fine will be subject to prosecution and imprisonment or a fine as determined by the courts of law,” NEMA stated.
The body called upon the general public to strictly observe Environment best practices to avoid being penalized.