NEMA to Implement Express Penalty Scheme for environmental breaches
The National Environment Management Authority hereby informs the general public that effective 1st, April 2023 we shall in addition to existing criminal prosecution measures; commence an Administrative Penalty Scheme for environment breaches in line with Section 174 of the National Environment Act, No.5 of 2019.
The express penalty scheme is intended to deter non-compliance to environment laws and to prevent environmental degradation through payment of monetary penalties (fines).
Under the Express Penalty Scheme, the offender will be required to pay a fine within the prescribed time frame and in a specific bank account. The notice will specify the date and nature of the alleged contravention, a summary of the facts that NEMA or authorized officer alleges, and the amount payable.
The fines payable for specific environmental breaches are a computation of currency points where one currency point is equivalent to twenty thousand shillings (UGX 20,000) only. Some key offences are listed below;
Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and Audits
• Failure to conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Environment Risk Assessment for the projects that that require ESIA or ERA will attract a fine not exceeding UGX 1 billion for individuals or fifteen years in prison or both; and UGX 6 billion for corporate bodies
• Failure to conduct an annual environment audit will attract a penalty of up to UGX 1 billion or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both
• Failure to display the complete certificate of approval of Environmental and social impact Assessment is up to UGX 1 billion for an individual and up to UGX 6 billion for a corporate entity
Wetlands River Banks and Lake Shores
• Destroying, damaging or disturbing a wetland in a manner that has or is likely to have an adverse effect on any plant or animal attracts a fine of up to UGX 3,000,000
• Failing/neglecting or refusing to protect a lakeshore in accordance with the regulations attracts a fine of up to UGX 3,000,000
• Leaving rubbish outside residential premises will attract a maximum fine of up to UGX 6,000,000
• Littering from commercial buildings attracts a maximum fine of UGX up to 6,000,000
• Depositing rubbish/waste on a roadside, or ditch attracts a maximum fine of up to UGX 6,000,000
• Depositing rubbish in a river, stream, lake, pond, canal or channel attracts a maximum fine of up to UGX 6,000,000
• Littering from cars or driving a car without a dustbin attracts a maximum fine of up to UGX 6,000,000
Management of plastics
• Importing, exporting, manufacturing, using or reusing plastic carrier bags or plastic products made of polymers of ethane (polythene) and propylene that are below 30 microns will attract a fine of up to UGX 100,000,000
• Dealing in activities that result in aggravated pollution or polluting the environment contrary to conditions contained in a pollution control licence or permit, discharge or emission of pollutants into the environment contrary to approved standards attracts a maximum fine of up to UGX 6 billion
• Emitting noise in excess of the permissible noise levels will attract a maximum of up to UGX 10,000,000 upon conviction
• Failing to immediately reduce noise to a permissible noise level when required to do so, attracts a maximum fine of up to UGX 10,000,000.
The full schedule of breaches and corresponding maximum fees and bank account(s) to which payments will be made are available on the NEMA website www.nema.go.ug .
NEMA retains the right to suspend operations of a facility, withdraw the ESIA Certificate, Permit, License and other relevant documentation or to commence prosecution until the fine is paid. A person who doesn’t prefer a voluntary fine will be subject to prosecution and imprisonment or a fine as determined by the courts of law.
We call upon the general public to strictly observe Environment best practices to avoid being penalized.