Marwan Dawood

Mauritius Clean-up Campaign : The Government in need of an EIA Licence

« Ils ont la gachette facile »…This is how the french would have qualified this government MSM-ML for their way to manage environmental related subjects and the number of projects granted EIA Licences or exempted from the provisions of the Mauritian Law under the Environmental Protection Act of 2002.

Should I list? The Metro/Tram Express to start with or let’s agree on, « Metram Express » so as to please each and everyone. Should we forget the jetty project being implemented on the island of Agaléga is also EIA exempted? Now even though some « private projects » have been granted an EIA Licence, the conditions in which same were done give way to a bad smelling « Lakwizine » related to the so-called « Gouvernma Lepep ».

The government led by Pravind Jugnauth does not lay emphasis enough on environmental issues. « Le danger nous pend au nez! » We have been getting warnings from Mother Nature with more and more floods occurring frequently during summer. Protecting the environment should not stop with a cleaning campaign around the island for political purposes. Pravind Jugnauth should he realise the importance thereof must clean his cabinet first and remove Etienne Sinatambou as minister of Environment. Such an important subject must not fall under the aegis of a person already holding an important ministry such as the Social Security. The ministry of Environment must be a full-fledged operating ministry and this is not done by a part-time minister.

Etienne Sinatambou’s reply to a Parliamentary Question from Alan Ganoo in June last shows that he has little control on the environmental issue. How on earth can a responsible minister minimize the impacts of implementing a scrap metal foundry in the region Bananes, saying that the area is a « bad neighbor » one, that there already exists some highly polluting projects operating nearby. So he is being like a Muppet in the hands of unscrupulous officers of his ministry by adopting such an attitude of, « li déja malangue bé nou sale li pliss ». The problem is not about the inhabitants only. Let’s agree that according to the minister the said project of Iron Foundry is located around 900 m away from the residents. Is the minister and his officers aware that smoke can travel up to 4.5 kilometer away from it’s source of emission? I doubt! What about the fauna and flora of the region where the minister conceded about the presence of scenic landscape in the vicinity.

The press has not lay emphasis too on this issue. Is the promoter so powerful? Is our environment being controlled by powerful investors from abroad injecting huge amount of money in the drawers of politicians? We have to put an end to this « cinema bon marché » from political leaders faking love to the environment while taking decisions affecting the biodiversity of our Republic. The national Clean-up campaign must start right from above. The press has to stop looking at the environment as being just growing a flower or a tree or just picking up a piece of paper, because remember, these people are picking a paper weighing around 0.2 grams while throwing away tons of polluting lies and materials throughout the island. There are more projects like this around Mauritius but they are covered by thick layers of money. Some may remember how the Mauritius Oceanology Institute and Research Center was exposed at the beginning of the year in a Sunday Times article. « L’exemple vient d’en haut… »

Dear fellow citizen of Mauritius, the general elections are not too far. The real Clean-up campaign will be done by us…This government needs an EIA Licence!

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