In Uganda, In Uganda, Murchison Falls is Number 1
China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is one of the largest construction groups in the world. In Uganda, it built the 40-kilometer expressway between Entebbe Airport and the capital city, Kampala.
The Export Import Bank of China is involved in the destruction of the Murchison Falls National Park as a financier. The cost for the construction of three “national oil roads” has been estimated at around €485 million, of which 85 percent (€410 million) will be covered by a loan. In addition to CCCC, two other Chinese companies are involved.
According to environmentalists, the start of construction by CCCC is illegal. For example, it is unclear whether an environmental impact assessment has been carried out. During two public hearings on the Tilenga project, it became apparent that numerous regulations had been violated.
Protected areas without protection
In many countries, governments are opening protected areas to resource exploitation, dams and infrastructure projects: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Virunga and Salonga National Parks are threatened by oil drilling, while the Canadian company Banro wants to mine gold in Itombwe Nature Reserve. In Guinea, the Chinese Sinohydro Group is planning a dam in the new Moyen-Bafing National Park; in Tanzania, the Unesco World Heritage site Selous is also threatened by a dam.
Roads open “Pandora’s box”
Environmentalists compare the construction of roads to opening a Pandora’s box of environmental evils and draw parallels to the spread of cancer cells. Satellite images show how, after a road is opened between population centers, numerous side roads soon branch off into the countryside in a herringbone pattern. These are both official and unofficial roads, some of which are built by logging companies.
Roads open previously inaccessible areas to agriculture (farms, plantations, cattle feedlots), logging, mining, poaching and settlement. Many of the threats to rainforests are associated with the construction of roads. In the tropics, 95 percent of all deforestation takes place within five kilometers of the nearest road.