Malawi like the rest of the world is experiencing numerous problems of environmental degradation as a result of rapid population growth and humanity's quest for improved living standards. Major environmental problems being experienced in Malawi include soil erosion, deforestation, water resources degradation and depletion, threat to fish resources, threat to biodiversity, human habitat degradation, air pollution and climate change. For a country whose socio-economic development is agro-based, problems related to soil erosion rank highest and require urgent attention for the economy to be sustained.
Poverty, high illiteracy and population growth rates are some of the causes as well as effects of environmental degradation which need addressing. The country's environmental problems can not be checked if there is no concerted effort to give environmental management the priority it deserves. The Malawi constitution has already provided a basis for this environmental protection.
The governments priority agenda is poverty alleviation to be realised through free primary education, trade liberalization, increased access to credit for the rural population and other policy reforms. It is important therefore that environmental considerations should be mainstreamed into the overall government development policies. The recently expressed aspirations in the Vision 2020 will not be realised if the current rate of environmental degradation is not arrested and reviewed.
The Environment Management Act has given every Malawian a right to a clean and healthy environment but even this can not be achieved if there is no supporting mechanism in place. This document outlines the basis for environmental impact assessment process in Malawi and provides a mechanism for integrating environment and development concerns. It is only through this process that improved living standards for the Malawi people can be achieved and the nation can support protected and managed ecosystems.
It is my sincere hope that this document will stimulate wide spread
interest amongst alI those concerned to protect the environment and that
every Malawian, including politicians, business persons, students, and
many others will give the Environmental Impact Assessment process the support
it deserves by using it as a tool in decision making as well as a guide
in ensuring that our development endeavours do not lead to unnecessary
F. V.Mayinga Mkandawire
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | References
Appendices | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | Annex I