Time is running out, we are losing our most precious wild places at an unbelievable pace.
Last week it was the turn to Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, the government has given green light for mining activities to start in this rich ecosystem compromising its diverse fauna and flora. Yesterday it was Virunga National Park in DRC, Nairobi National Park in Kenya , Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania….and so many more. Today we are fighting for no oil and no oil related infrastructure activities in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but one obvious thing is that Protected Areas are not protected.
Governments, international corporations, such as the French oil major Total or the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), all are looking for the easiest and cheapest way to trash our planet and most precious habitats. Reputational risks? Who cares if drilling and pushing for infrastructure and industrial activities in protected areas is the best way to avoid paying compensations and dealing with resettlements of local communities.
One wonders how many more protected areas, sacred sites and forest reserves need to be sacrificed in the name of extractives industries and related infrastructures?
This is a call to you France, China, you want to “Make Our Planet Earth Great Again”, you want to be a global leader in diplomacy on limiting the effects of climate change, well…practice what your preach and call on your companies to stop the destruction of biodiversity and protected areas in Africa.
Uganda sits on vast oil resources, and three companies are ready to drill – in of all places, Murchison Falls National Park. A Chinese construction company is already expanding a road that cuts through the protected area. Speak out against this disaster in the making!
Murchison Falls National Park is one of Africa’s jewels. Every year, thousands of nature lovers come from all over the world to enjoy the spectacle of the Victoria Nile thundering down the cliffs of a narrow gorge.
The Albertine Graben region is home to wildlife such as lions, elephants and hippos, and at least 500 further animal species. It is listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) and a Ramsar site because of its exceptional wetlands.
This could soon be history if France’s TOTAL, UK-based Tullow Oil and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) were to drill 419 wells in the region and extract 200,000 barrels a day. They would also build a refinery, an industrial zone and a 1,445-kilometer pipeline to the harbor of Tanga in Tanzania.
In early 2019, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) started expanding a dirt track through Murchison Falls National Park used mainly by safari tourists, widening and paving it for heavy vehicles. The road expansion will fragment the national park and cut off wildlife corridors. Environmental activists are convinced that the only possible purpose for the road is to serve the oil industry.
CCCC is one of the biggest construction companies globally. Its projects are textbook examples of how China initiates, finances and realizes major undertakings that run roughshod over the local environment in numerous countries.
Resistance is growing in Uganda: environmentalists and civil society are calling on the government to protect the environment and the livelihoods of ordinary Ugandans from the fossil-fuel industry.
International pressure can be successful, as the cancelation of a hydroelectric dam project close to Murchison Falls has shown.
Now our aim is clear: Save the Murchison Falls region – tell Uganda to keep the oil in the ground!
Source: Rainforest Rescue