Bahrain plans national ‘green’ policy
Manama, June 6, 2011
Bahrain is drafting a national environment policy and its first annual compliancy report in efforts to make all sectors more responsible, said a senior official.
The report will reveal exactly which sectors are not complying with environment legislation and hopefully spur more action to be taken against them, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
He said the report would pinpoint where the government and private sector are not complying with the Environment Law of 1996 and other environmental legislation.
The report is expected to be finalised and then submitted to Cabinet by the end of the year.
'It will show the weaknesses of each organisation in the public and private sectors,' he said. 'The Cabinet will hopefully review it and take action.'
Dr Al Zayani said each non-compliancy case over the last year would be included in the report and that it would be issued annually.
'The report will look at non-compliance of industries, ministries and will deal with waste, telecommunications, radiation, asbestos, protected areas, importing banned materials, plants and animals and all that comes under the environment law,' he said.
'We have already taken companies to court on a case-by-case basis, but we want to show the Cabinet the picture of who does and doesn't comply and then give our recommendations for the future.'
Dr Al Zayani said the commission had submitted its recommendations for a tougher environment law, which had 133 articles compared to 33 in the 1996 law and he hoped it would be passed soon.
He said other efforts to toughen up on violators of the environment included the drafting of a national policy that would cover all environmental issues.
These include those related to water, energy, climate change, marine, household and chemical waste among others.
He said the commission was in the process of drafting the policy and planned to present it to Cabinet by the end of the year and it would hopefully be adopted as a national policy.
'Everyone will be responsible from the government to implement the policy and then the next stage is to have it transferred as a legislation,' said Dr Al Zayani. 'We are not the only authority to control the environment, we need a national policy that everyone follows.
'The enforcement by the present law shows we can take them to court but the court has a huge waiting list and this delays action.
'This is one of the obstacles we have to overcome and that's why parliament is looking at establishing a specialised court for the environment.'
Dr Al Zayani was speaking as the chief guest at a World Environment Day celebration held at the Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE) Auditorium in Bahrain yesterday (June 5). – TradeArabia News Service