By HSE East Africa | Tuesday Dec 12, 2017
The Ugandan environmental watchdog, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has cleared construction of six roads and two bridges in the oil region.
According to NEMA deputy executive director, Christine Akello, this follows presentation satisfactory environmental impact assessment reports for the construction and possible mitigation measures by the Uganda National roads Authority (UNRA) as required in the National Environment Act Cap 153.
Some sections of the roads traverse ecologically sensitive areas such as Semliki, Murchison falls National Park, Budongo and Bugoma forest reserves which are sanctuaries for wild animals.
UNRA environmental specialist Dan Mainza said assessment studies were carried out for all the proposed roads by an in-house team supported by a range of bio-physical and social-economic experts certified by NEMA.
Some of the mitigation measures included in the EIA reports include restricting of the road works to the existing road footprint to reduce destruction of habitats. Contractors will be required to ensure auxiliary facilities such as quarry sites and workers’ camps are located away from human settlements and conservation areas. UNRA will later install speed control measures in ecologically sensitive areas and maintain connectivity by installing wild animal under passages as well as maintaining a canopy cover along central forest reserves. All contractors are also required to develop a waste management plan.
The roads which received $500m funding from the China’s Export-Import (EXIM) Bank are highly needed to boost transportation of oil when commercial production starts by 2020.