The Constitutional and statutory duty of the Ombudsman with regard to the environment is to: ‘’investigate complaints concerning the over-utilization of living natural resources, the irrational exploration and destruction of eco systems and failure to protect the beauty and character of Namibia.’’ Great pressure is place on the environment due to poor waste management practices which inevitably lead to degradation of our environment. Therefore, waste disposal sites that are badly sighted, designated and separated, increase the risk of soil, water and atmospheric pollution.
Below are examples of resolved environmental complaints
In a letter dated 20 March 2018 and addressed to the Environmental Commissioner, the Omusheshe residents requested the Environmental Commissioner to look into the sand mining in that area, which has a negative effect on the environment and access to their properties. According to them “the very access road to our community is collapsing into the mine, rendering it a direct threat to our lives and the lives of others using the road”. Their attempts to negotiate with the owner of the mine failed and the village chief appeared unable to help them. When the community received no response from the Environmental Commissioner, they approached the Ombudsman.
In letters (with photographs of the environment attached), the Ombudsman requested the Environmental Commissioner to deal with the complaint and inform the community of the steps he has taken to stop the illegal activity, and what steps he will take to ensure the rehabilitation of the environment. The Ombudsman received no response from the Environmental Commissioner. On his last subpoena to the Environmental Commissioner, the Ombudsman was informed that he is no longer the Environmental Commissioner and no acting Commissioner was appointed. The matter was reported to the Minister of Environment and Tourism.