NEA trains Environment Inspectors on Compliance and Enforcement

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The National Environment Agency (NEA) has recently trained 40 of her environment inspectors posted across the country on environmental compliance, enforcement and prosecution.

The training was convened to address the increasing complexity of environmental issues coupled with challenges in enforcing the legal requirements, which require continuous training and capacity development of the inspectors.

The Environmental Agency is the competent authority mandated by Gambian law to enforce the National Environment Management Act and its Regulations. It has developed a comprehensive training manual intended to provide technical and procedural guidance for inspections, investigations and enforcement of the regulated community.

There are legal requirements against individuals and facilities that cause or may cause significant adverse effects to the environment and public health. Both regulators and the regulated community need to fully abide and implement these legal requirements.

Environmental compliance and enforcement are key elements in the implementation of the legal requirements to achieve the desired results.

By virtue of their unique competence in conducting inspections, enforcement and prosecution, a representative of the GPF training school and the Judiciary from Kanifing Magistrates’ Court were among the resource persons.

Senior Programme Officer of Environment Quality Muhammed J Jabang said many of the Earth’s ecosystem is nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. He called for the sustainable utilization of our natural resources.

He disclosed that Environmental Inspectors perform routine investigations, field visits to assure that all projects are compliant with environmental laws. “As a result, they are an essential component for protecting the health of both the land and the general public. This job involves a familiarity with environmental regulations and instruments, as well as an ability to accurately record the compliance level of a particular site.

Outlining the terms of reference of the Environmental Inspectors, Mr Jabang said inspectors look through various cases including permits, licenses, and records to ensure that everything is done correctly and people remain informed and updated about the latest regulations relevant to their field.

He said Environmental Inspectors are required to follow-up cases in ensuring that offenders comply or receive abatement notice.

Njagga Touray, manager of research and development said the training manual is intended to provide technical and procedural guidance for environmental inspections in The Gambia, saying it will guide NEA environmental inspectors and policy and legislation staff when undertaking inspections and investigations.

According to Mr Touray, the manual introduces the subject of environmental inspections and explains the various types and levels of inspections. The inspection process is also described in detail in this chapter right from the planning phase through to the actual on-site inspection and finally to the post-inspection phase. The Manual provides clear guidance notes for Inspectors in the various stages of the inspection process. 

Author: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang