Former Minister of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources William Harrington has described the decision by government to allow mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park as an environmental disaster.
In an interview with Lusaka Star, William Harrington said goverment’s decision on the Lower Zambezi is a tragic development which will have an impact on the environment and growth of the tourism sector in the country.
Whereas mining can have long term social and economic benefits in terms of foreign exchange such as earnings from mineral export and taxes, tourism is forever. No sustainable development can take place in any country if environmental concerns are not taken into consideration,
It is uncertain to determine whether the promoters of the mining projects will be able to comply with the conditions set up by ZEMA.
He has since urged Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to publish the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on mining in the Lower Zambezi and its Decision Letter in order for citizens to understand government’s decision to allow open pit mining in the game park.
Meanwhile, Dalitso Mvula, an Environment Education and Management student at the University of Zambia, said mining in the Lower Zambezi will have a huge impact not only on the environment, but on the people and animals in the area.
Yes, money will be made off the mine but the government should consider other effects that will be caused by the open pit mine,
Mvula, who is also University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) Minister of Academic Affairs, said the impact of mining in the Lower Zambezi will not be felt by the leaders making these decisions, but by the youths and the generations to come.
After the mining process is complete and done, the land will not be suitable for people to settle and farm, animals to live and plants to grow there,
She further added that mining in the Lower zambezi will lead to the loss of animal, plant and aquatic species due to air and land pollution caused by the mines.
Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu recently told the media that the project to mine Copper in the Lower zambezi game park will proceed but under strict adherence to measures set by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.