Friday, October 27, 2006

Ethiopia: City Land Deals Require Environmental Assessment

allAfrica.com -- The Lease Board of the Addis Abeba Caretaker Administration, chaired by Berhane Deressa, decided to impose an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on investment projects that requested land from the city administration last month.

The Board requested that the Addis Abeba Investment Authority and the Land Development and Administration Authority implement the decision beginning October 11, 2006.

The decision came with the Parliament proclamation number 300/2002, which specifies that each project going into implementation has to go through an Assessment.

The idea behind the proclamation and policy is to avoid worsening the environmental standard of Addis Abeba. The rivers within the city, for example, are all polluted from the waste which comes from different factory, home and hospital wastage that cannot be used for any productive purpose.

"The rivers in Addis Abeba do not have oxygen in them," said an environmentalist. "Especially the ones polluted by the industrial waste, like the small and big Akaki rivers. There is no life in them."

According to the Administration's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the pollution has affected these rivers as projects who take up land did not have an Assessment included in the initial stage of the land lease requests and there is no controlling mechanism in place after the project enters production.

According to information obtained from the Authority, the Assessment is a crucial one as, if the situation goes as it is presently, the pollution will not only be in the water but felt in the air and in daily life overall.

Accordingly, developers who are planning to open factories which will have waste in some form will have to get Assessments for their projects from the Environmental Protection Authority.

Hailu Worku (PhD), general manager of EPA, told Fortune that the Authority is expanding the Assessment department. "We asked the city administration to add three more experts to facilitate the work. However, we are capable of doing the evaluation work with the existing human resource we have now."

With the new decision, the Assessments will gather information as soon as requests for land are received. The Assessments will help keep track of what type of land they are taking and where their factory will be located.

Since August 2006, the new Lease Board has started to make decisions and issue directives after a long period of transition from the previous administration's Lease Board.

The Little Akaki river loaded with suspended particles, solid wastes, toxic industrial and domestic effluents. More details can be found here.

No comments: