Environmental issues in Egypt are governed by Law No. 4 of 1994. This law provides for the creation of an agency for the protection and promotion of the environment, the Environment Affairs Agency (EEAA). The EEAA is destined to formulate the general policy and to prepare the necessary plans for the protection and promotion of the environment. It should also follow up the implementation of such plans.
The law provides for a mandatory environmental review, to be undertaken by the competent administrative authority according to EEAA's instructions, as part of the approval process for all proposed projects.
The law forbids the handling of hazardous substances and wastes or the construction of any establishment for treating such substances without a license from the competent administrative authority. It is also forbidden to import hazardous waste or to allow its entrance into or passage through Egyptian territories. It is mandatory for all those who produce or handle dangerous materials to take precautions to ensure that no environmental damage shall occur.
All establishments (industrial and others) are required to ensure that while practicing their activities no leaked or emitted air pollutants (caused by the burning of fuel, etc.) shall exceed the maximum permissible levels. It is also prohibited to incinerate, to dispose of or to treat garbage and solid wastes as well as to spray pesticides or any other chemical compound unless it is done according to the conditions and safety measures specified in the Executive Regulations of the law.
Ships of any nationality, offshore platforms and any other companies or agencies authorized to explore or exploit natural marine resources are forbidden to discharge into the territorial sea of Egypt any polluting substances resulting in harm to the water environment.
The law further provides for a system of incentives to be offered to those who implement environmental protection activities or projects and sets penalties for those who are in violation of its provisions.
The Egyptian government has developed a five-year environmental action plan (1997/98-2001/02) for attacking the country's solid waste, air and water pollution problems.
The plan's priorities include: preparing feasibility studies for planned development projects, urging companies to work toward ISO 14000 environmental standards certification and urging the use of scientific management techniques and waste recycling to preserve natural resources.
Egypt is a signatory to various conventions concerning environment protection, among which are: the Environmental Modification Convention; the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer; the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships; the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution; the Brussels Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the Moscow Treaty for Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)