Good environmental management depends on constant innovation


TCTA consistently fine-tunes its environmental compliance systems to ensure that they are still effective and in line with global best practice. 


The work is in pursuit of the organisation’s stated objective of ensuring that environmental assets and natural resources are well protected and continually enhanced. 


The Authority spares no effort in ensuring that it undertakes its infrastructure development projects in an environmentally responsible and socially inclusive manner. 


To this end, a reliable and effective environmental management system (EMS) that is regularly monitored and evaluated is key.  


Presenting TCTA’s Approach to Environmental Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to staff recently, Minenhle Luthuli explained the purpose of the two functions thus: “Monitoring is concerned with tracking the progress of implementation and processes while evaluation helps with enhancing the understanding of causes and outcomes relationships.”


Ms Luthuli added that the information gathered in M&E enabled the TCTA to verify compliance, measure progress, test performance and report factually. It allows the organisation to respond to challenges, answer critical questions and learn lessons. 


However, even more crucially, M&E identifies the areas of improvement for the EMS.


TCTA’s environment monitoring methods include auditing, site observations and inspections, risk assessments, exceptions/investigations reports, biophysical variable data recording, and report monitoring. 


To take environmental M&E at TCTA to the next level, Ms Luthuli urged the identification and description of the Authority’s ecological footprint, better use of available data and transformation of insights into action plans. 


Setting targets for improvement and interdisciplinary learning and growth were other vital areas of development requiring attention. 


Ms Luthuli concluded by highlighting that improved M&E, among other things, required a stable platform for hosting databases and records, accurate and accessible information sources, integration of information across disciplines, and standardisation of indicators.


Further, M&E needed the mining of historical data, industry research, and collaboration, cooperation and communication among the stakeholders. Staff Writer