World Environmental Health Day 2015
Our growing population in the province has a big impact on our environment and it’s important that we protect it to ensure the health of our natural habitat and to also ensure our own health.
World Environmental Health Day
Every year on 26 September we celebrate World Environmental Health Day to create awareness about all physical, chemical, and biological factors which may have an impact on our physical health. The day was established by the International Federation of Environmental Health to create awareness aimed at preventing disease by creating pro-health environments.
To ensure that environmental laws are followed in the province, the Green Scorpions who are environmental inspectors within the Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI), in the Western Cape investigate potential instances where these laws have been broken.
This group of environmental crime fighters are also ensuring that we realise that environmental crimes affect us all.
In May 2015 the Western Cape increased its number of Green Scorpions to 25 inspectors. These inspectors are recruited by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, who also facilitates the necessary training needed.
They are responsible for curbing criminal activities related to the environment and have law enforcement powers to perform their duties.
Some of the crimes the Green Scorpions investigate include:
- Illegal dumping, such as toxic waste materials.
- Illegal developments.
- Destruction of land such as illegal sand mining.
Their main function is to enforce legislation as required by Section 24 of the Constitution. This ensures that all the people have a right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being.
Success stories of the Green Scorpions
Some of the big wins include the following:
- They seized a bulldozer and a front end loader that costs millions of rand.
- These 2 vehicles were used for illegal sand mining in Stellenbosh.
- The owners of the wine farm where the illegal sand mining was taking place are in the early stages of prosecution.
- On the West Coast there was an intergovernmental blitz in respect of all illegal developments where 50 property owners have been served with warnings and notices for encroaching coastal or public land their developments.
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has applauded the Green Scorpions, labelling them as the “province's foot soldiers” in tracking environmental crimes.
To report any environmental crimes please call National 24 Hotline at 0800 205 005 and also visit the national Department of Environmental Affairs website for more information.