AN oil and gas waste committee has been formed to ensure that local community leaders have a say in environmental management in Mtwara Municipality.
Speaking during the first meeting of the committee in Mtwara last Friday, Alpha Group Managing Director Ganeshan Vedagiri said the committee, which consists of technicians, managers from the company, local community leaders and government environment experts, will help address challenges facing the environment.
Mr Vedagiri requested committee members to make use of meetings as a communication channel between the community, government and the company on all issues pertaining to the environment and poverty alleviation.
He further noted that Supply Base Solution, which is subsidiary company of Alpha Group undertaking management of waste from oil and gas exploring companies, is still committed to conducting its activities in accordance with best environmental practices.
"We as a company are also committed to the development of livelihood of the surrounding communities and that as the company expands its operations, new opportunities for employment will be created," Mr Vedagiri said.
SBS employs over 100 people of which 60 per cent are women. The SBS Director further promised local community leaders that as the company grow, so will communities hosting its facility benefit as youths will be trained in acquiring skills in oil and gas waste management through recruitment.
He dismissed fears that waste being handled by SBS has negative environmental impacts, saying solid waste is crushed and shipped away for use as raw materials by other manufacturers while liquid waste is treated and sent back to the seas. Cuttings are used as raw materials by cement manufacturers.
"In many of the developed countries, waste management is done in the middle of big cities without interfering with the environment or people's activities and we can achieve the same here," he argued.
Mdenga SBS Waste Facility Manager Iain Murison said the company's environmental policy focuses on non- disturbance of nature. He pointed out that safe and clean environment is a prerequisite of all operations of the company on daily basis.
He noted that because of management's commitment in protecting the environment, there are daily, weekly, monthly and annual environmental audits done by independent SGS International.
"These audits are important in making sure that we as management remain focused on environmental protection," he stressed.