Environmental Management in South Africa: the Road to Sustainable Development
Riana Stone and A. Van Staden, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
For millions of years our planet has undergone countless transformations for which forces of nature were alone responsible. The result of this long period of adjustment is a complex balance which has enabled the human race to exist and prosper within an extremely biological community. Each species, each ecosystem, each genetic combination is the unique product of millions of years of evolution and an irreplaceable part of the basis of our life and of the source of our well-being (Habitat & UNEP, 1997:9).

The rapid escalation of environmental problems such as the destruction of forests, air, water and soil pollution, acid rain, over-population, the depletion of fish stocks, and the disappearance of a great number of animal and plant species as a consequence of human activities, demonstrate that human civilisation is having an increasingly negative influence on the biosphere. The aforementioned problems, coupled with a greater public awareness and concern, brings pressure to bear on governments to unify policies and develop more credible environmental management systems. There is a growing world-wide concern that government and non-governmental agencies have insufficient institutional capacity to manage the process required to reach environmental and sustainable objectives. In many countries, for example, the institutional capacity needed to produce environmental impact statements and environmental action plans are weakly implemented or are non existent (Muller, 1996:19).

In this paper the following will receive attention: - Background and current situation regarding environmental management in South Africa; - Problems identified with environmental policy implementation - Methods to ingrain concepts and desired practices of sustainable development into the ethics of South African society.

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