11 January 2017

Kenya: Conservationists Fault Nema Approval of Railway Through Nairobi Park

Nairobi — Conservationists have faulted the decision by the National Environment and Management (NEMA) to approve construction of the Standard Gauge Railway through the Nairobi National Park.

In an interview with Capital FM News, WildlifeDirect's CEO Paula Kahumbu said the decision to route the railway through the park ignores the advice of numerous environment experts who have warned of irreversible consequences

"It is unfortunate that the government has taken that position despite all the evidence that we have provided in the environmental implication of the construction of the railway through the park which will mainly affect the migration routes," she said.

Environmental stakeholders have in the past years rejected infrastructure developments that cut across national parks and reserves arguing that there needs to be proper planning away from the parks.

"Efforts by the civil societies to challenge the process have been undermined by national environment tribunal; adversely affecting the environment legislation meant to protect the parks and conservation," Kahumbu said.

The WildlifeDirect's CEO said they have been in communication with the Kenya Railways officials who have assured that the construction will not have any negative impact adding that the railway authority will be putting aside some funds which will go towards conservation.

"We would like to see that these promises are delivered, compliance on the monitoring and the valuation of the whole implementation process and for the data to be publicly available so as to inform of any further developments," noted Kahumbu.

"We don't want to find ourselves repeating the same mistakes where we will have other protected parks and reserves facing the same challenge as the Nairobi National Park in regard to infrastructural developments."

Environment stakeholders have clearly stated that they are not against infrastructure development since it is important for the economic growth of a country but are concerned with the threats that it posses to wildlife and its habitat.

"We will be monitoring compliance on all the conditions of the license and laws of Kenya," stated Kahumbu.

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