Environmental Practices Inspector

Environmental compliance inspectors work for government departments to protect and preserve our environment and the public by ensuring that communities, individuals, businesses and provincial and local governments comply with laws and regulations that are intended to prevent or reduce pollution.

Environmental practices inspectors examine places of business, scrutinize permits, licences and records to ensure compliance with relevant national and municipal environmental practice requirements. They have to prepare, organize and maintain inspection records and produce reports summarizing requirements and regulations. Some examples of tasks that they perform are to:

  • investigate complaints of illegal dumping, pollution, nuisance to neighbouring premises, community health and safety complaints, problems relating to pesticides, product quality etc., from individuals or businesses
  • inspect water and waste treatment facilities to make sure they are in compliance with standards and regulations
  • be expert witnesses and testify in court about environmental violations
  • make sure that a landfill is processing rubbish in compliance with local environmental regulations
  • monitor follow-up actions in cases where violations were found, and review compliance monitoring reports
  • evaluate label information for accuracy and conformance to regulatory requirements.
Environmental practices inspectors work in a variety of contexts, often outdoors. For example, in fisheries, they go out with the fishing boats to check their catch, as it is caught, as well as release any dolphins, turtles and sea birds that may be trapped in nets and fishing lines. They may only return home after several days at sea. They may need to verify fishing and bait collecting licenses, and check the quality of effluent pumped out from factories and municipal sewage works, as well as air quality in the vicinity of factories. They also need to do administrative work in an office setting. Travel may be required for this occupation

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics (some institutions require Physical Sciences and / or Life Sciences)
Recommended Subjects: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Geography

What to Study

Compulsory Higher Education

Degree: the minimum requirement for this occupation is a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences, environmental law, or a related subject.

Postgraduate: a post-graduate degree is recommended for advancement into senior positions. Some positions might require registration with a professional association.

It is beneficial to have a working knowledge of environmental management systems, occupational health and safety systems, waste / wastewater legislation, statistics, and accounting procedures.

Possible Career Paths

A junior-level environmental compliance specialist is responsible for monitoring facility operations and preparing reports.

The responsibility of an intermediate-level environmental compliance specialist advances from monitoring facility operations to analyzing reports in order to identify cases of non-compliance and the appropriate enforcement. Other responsibilities include managing overall reporting and conducting internal audits.

A senior-level position requires establishing working relationships with regulatory authorities, and an integrated practice and knowledge of environmental regulations, reporting requirements, standards and codes.


• municipalities, big and small
• government departments, national or provincial
• local authorities

Further Information

Environmental Assessment Practitioners of South
Interim Certification Board Secretariat
P.O. Box 1749
Noordhoek, 7979
Tel/Fax: (021) 7890-1385
Email: eacertify@intekom.co.za

South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
The Woods
Building C, Ground Floor
41 De Havilland Crescent
Persequor Technopark
Pretoria, 0020
Tel: (012) 349-7722 Fax: (012) 349-7719

Department of Environmental Affairs
Head Office
Private Bag X447
Pretoria, 0001
Fedsure Forum Building
North Tower
315 Pretorius Street
cnr Pretorius & van der Walt Streets
2nd Floor (Departmental reception) OR
1st Floor (Departmental information Centre)
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 310-3911

Programmes by Study Institutions

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