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Environmental Performance Index – The Woes Of South Africa
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Environmental Performance Index – the Woes Of South Africa

Environmental Performance Index. (EPI for short)

The recent article on News24, depicting the woes of South Africa's decline in the EPI, performed by the universities of Yale and Columbia, show that it matters not, how good the laws and statutes are, if not enforce they are worth nothing.

South Africa (ranked 128th) has some of the best and toughest laws governing the environment, easily on a comparison to other southern hemisphere countries like New Zealand (14th), Australia (48th), and better than, Zambia (57th) and Zimbabwe (68th). The rankings, taken from data collected from the 132 countries, and a measured on the results of 22 indicators, showed that the laws of the land are not being adhered to. The disregard for the environment, will not encourage tourism, endear us to the rest of the world, and be a surprise to the delegates that attended the recent COP17 conference held in this country.

The results show the country's progress is in decline, and only two indicators give a indication of above average score, namely the air; it's effect on human health and forests, biodiversity and habitat produced an average score, unfortunately the rest, below average.

How can a country of our stature, show a performance worse, than our neighbours to the north? Zambia and Zimbabwe performed dismally in matters of environmental health, the burden on disease, water effects on health and air (ecosystems), this is understandable, with their governmental decline and financial woes. South Africa, however, with a more democratic government, legal controls and statutes have to be miles ahead.

Is it not time for commerce and industry to “pull up their socks”, come aboard the “Green train” and do something? The mining industry, with the threats of closure if they are not adhering to the laws, are doing their best, why can these same laws not be enforced on the other industries? Are there too few inspectors to keep a control, or are the Magnates of industry to powerful, with deep pockets, to place themselves above the law?

The whole country needs to become aware of the demeanour being perpetrated by others, to report to the officials, use cell phone cameras to get documentary proof, so that our beautiful land remains so. With the rising incidents of poaching, the demise of the Rhino, the “Red Data list” reporting more and more animals, plants and birds in a decline and endangered, surely it is time for the citizens to stand tall and take control.

A call to arms of the environmental groups, to apply pressure on the government departments concerned, lets become proactive in matters pertaining to the decline of our environment.


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