A Senior Research Scholar at the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) ┬áhas advised the government to surrender the responsibility of carrying periodic assessments relating to the impact of tourism activities in the Okavango Delta ┬áto other ┬áinstitutions.
The ORI view the assessment of activities in the delta as an important element in preserving the flora and fauna┬áin its current state as communities residing within it rely on it for their┬álivelihood.
“The government should give institutions such as ORI the responsibility of monitoring the impact of pollution and other tourism activities in the delta,” said Ketlhatogile Mosepele, the Okavango Research Institute Fishery Biologist and Management.
Mosepele statements come after the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism revealed that the ministry ┬áwas unable to carry out periodic assessments related to the impact of pollution from tourism establishments and ┬átourism activities in the delta.
“Since the government was unable to carry such assessment, there is a need to give other institutions such mandate,” Mosepele said, adding that the government should continue with its responsibility to legislate but give other institutions the responsibilities of carrying out research on the impacts of activities.
Mosepele further stated that institutions such as ORI have the manpower and knowledge on conservation of natural resources. He said that there was a need to carry out such activities in order to maintain the delta in its current state as it plays a role in the tourism sector.
He said that failure to carry out such assessments could result in the pollution of the river.
┬áHowever, Okavango Research Institute’s Professor Joseph Mbaiwa noted that the issue of indiscriminate littering and disposal of waste in the delta was improving compared to the past ten years.
┬áHe said that most of ┬áthe establishments in the delta adhere to guidelines that have been set by Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP) project which is against the pollution of the inland.
Mbaiwa said that the guidelines compel the owners of guest houses and establishment on how to dispose of clinical waste┬áand sewage.
He further noted that pollution is a problem that still exists in the delta ┬ábut it was better compared to the past years. ┬á
The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism’s Permanent Secretary, Luck Moahi, has stated that the ministry was unable to carry out periodic assessments in the delta due to resource constraints.
Moahi said that, initially, the ministry had set a target to carry out assessments every two years, adding that he knew the importance of carrying┬áout such assessment but they were constrained by resources.