I have been in contact with several officials of EPAs of backward countries. Most of them are not competent and honest. Most of them even not sincere to their job. They are divided into following four nasty categories.
- A big group is incompetent and dishonest both
- Another small group is competent but sadly dishonest
- Another small group is honest but shamefully incompetent
- Another very small group is honest and competent both but unfortunately not allowed to perform duties with full freedom
So the majority group comprises of those officials who are both incompetent and dishonest. They are not pertaining to any specific poor country. They are from all the countries where corruption is rife, awareness is next to nothing and governance system is faulty.
Official of EPA of a poor country
Recently I happened to meet an official of EPA of a poor country. I won’t name the country to hide his identity as he requested not to be slightly referred because he is already very notorious because of his corruption and malpractices.
If I refer his identity even very slightly maybe many readers get to know who I am referring to. So instead of getting confused further, just I want to share ten confessions he made before me in a lengthy meeting while travelling by road from one city to another city.
1. Degree, not qualification
Most of the incompetent and corrupt officials of EPAs of poor countries do have an environmental or related degree but they don’t have much knowledge on environmental protection. They are usually inducted on recommendation of any powerful person who holds sway on concerned EPA.
That is why they don’t have basic concepts of environmental care and pollution control. How can they deliver when they themselves are not fully aware of what they are supposed to do?
2. Bosses know environment lesser than subordinates
This is another shocking revelation he mad. Most of the top bosses in EPAs of most of the poor countries are purely non-technical. They have nothing to do with environment. They are mostly bureaucrats or politicians who were crowned as top bosses of EPAs just to please them.
So a little technical officers of EPA easily duped them on sensitive technical issues and get the things done as they want and not in the public interest.
3. No merit while monitoring industries
He openly admitted that most of the polluting industries in poor countries are owned by those who rule these countries. They are in government. They are ministers or members of parliament. So how can their industries be fined on an act of polluting.
That is why officials of EPAs keep mum on environmental violations of most of the big industries and just check small industrial units of garments and handicrafts which don’t pollute much.
4. Greed for foreign trainings
This is one of the biggest charms to join an EPA in poor countries. Rich countries and donor agencies keep offering trainings to officials of EPAs of poor countries for their capacity building. So poor countries’ environmental officials make their full force to grab these trainings just to make a tour of a foreign country and save money from their training stipend.
Many officials have made fortunes by saving stipend money given to them during such trainings.
5. No fresh contents for a new report
How can an incompetent official write a fresh report on an environmental issue? He already has stock of reports previously done and he just copies and pastes it to make a new report by making a few changes in it.
6. How to twist an environmental issue?
Because of lack of knowledge of his superiors an environment official easily twists a green issue. He can declare a pollution threat is a no-problem for the environment. No one has time in poor countries to minutely analyze such twisted reports and they easily get approval from top bosses.
7. Expertise in delaying to do an important task
Red tape is the worst malaise in government system of poor countries. It means a decision is made after moving through several officials and officers. In every government office staff is hired more than the requirement just to give jobs to voters of elected officials. That is why most of the EPAs in poor countries have huge incompetent staff members that just do the delay in delivery of services and meanwhile environment keeps receiving hits from pollution.
8. Answerable to bosses not the rule of law
This is so common in most of the backward countries. Here who is saying is more important that what is being said. That is why law has no importance and just pleasure of bosses is required to continue the job happily.
9. Protecting a polluter if I have a vested interest
If a polluter offers an official of an EPA of a poor country an amount as bribe or any other benefit he can easily protect the polluter. He visits the place of polluter and no one has time or sense of responsibility to cross check his work. So he easily declares a polluter free from the offence of polluting with his fake report.
10. Hate to do research and just rely on old data
For any kind of research he just searches on interest what is already done on a topic of his next assignment. He just copies that research and make it part of his research report by slightly localizing it.
So these are the ten criminal confessions of an official of EPA of a poor country. In view of them can we expect pollution control can be done in such countries. It can’t be done unless pollution control mechanism is not fully reformed and revolutionized there.
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