Tanzanian Serengeti, Lake Natron threatened

This video is called Serengeti Highway.

From Wildlife Extra:

Tanzania pressing ahead with Serengeti Highway and Lake Natron soda plant

Latest reports point to Indian industrial interests funding destructive development

April 2011. Despite the German government offering to fund a study into an alternative route for the Serengeti Highway, the Tanzanian Government seems to be pressing ahead with its plans, as well as fast tracking the development of the soda ash plant at Lake Natron, the only breeding site for Greater flamingo in East Africa.

In 2 East Africa suggests that the Serengeti Highway is being funded by industrial cash rather than the need to connect some people to Tanzania’s road system. They speculate that “This confirms a long harboured and long suggested suspicion that the construction of the equally controversial highway through the Serengeti is primarily motivated and driven by industrial and mining considerations, and not as conveniently floated ‘in the interest of the people’, unless the financial interest of and financial considerations for a ‘few people’ can meet that standard.” (Read the full article here)

Germany offers to fund alternative study

Germany’s Federal Minister for Development Dirk Niebel announced that Germany would be willing to finance a study on alternative ways of connecting areas bordering the Serengeti in the north to the existing road network without crossing the Serengeti. Tanzania’s President Kikwete called this connection of rural areas as one of the main reasons why the controversial highway is needed. In addition, Niebel reaffirmed willingness to jointly finance an international feasibility study for an alternative southern bypass for the national park. Since this alternative routing would not only be cheaper but also connect many more Tanzanians to a good road network.

Alternatives ignored in assessment

So far, Tanzania has not been responsive to the requests of the donor community as well as of environmental protection organizations to consider alternatives to the envisaged route in the north. “The draft of the environmental impact assessment, which is now available, is completely inadequate,” said Frankfurt Zoological Society Executive Director Christof Schenck. The authors come to the conclusion that the northern route would be the best, without having ever considered alternatives. In addition, the study had in no way thought through the environmental, economic as well as social consequences of that route.

Self contradictory

“The study also contradicts itself,” said Schenck, “one comes to the conclusion that the road would boost tourism and at the same time, which tourism would be the road’s big loser.” Tourism will, however, play an increasingly important role for Africa’s development and the value of pristine natural areas will increase more in the future.

Since Tanzania in May of 2010 announced wanting to build a road for freight and long-distance traffic through the Serengeti National Park, the Tanzanian government experienced a storm of protest against the project. It seems undeterred and convinced, however, that the road will have no negative impact on the national park and its wildlife.

Lake Natron

Tanzania’s President Kikwete has said that this plant must go ahead. The plant, to be built and run by the huge Indian industrial firm Tata, will extract 500,000 tonnes of soda ash every year. The works will include a series of pipes across the lake and considerable infrastructure on the shoreline, but the Tanzanian Government does not believe this will impact on flamingo breeding.

Fresh concerns as President orders Lake Natron soda ash mining fast tracked: here.

Fight for flamingos: Tanzania to mine in world’s most important flamingo breeding ground: here.

The Tata Group has denied any involvement in plans to mine soda ash at Engaruka area near Lake Natron. In March 2012, Mr. Cyril Chami who was then Tanzania’s Minister of Trade and Industry said that the government was talking to Tata Chemicals Ltd to set up a $450 million soda ash factory at Engaruka area, part of Lake Natron basin. The factory would exploit newly discovered 460 billion cubic litres of soda ash at Engaruka, and if the Tata deal went through, the Government of Tanzania would hold 46% shares through the National Development Corporation: here.

The BirdLife Partners in Africa have published a report on their experience of working with Local Conservation Groups (called Site Support Groups – SSGs in Africa). Launched at a colourful ceremony in Kinangop, Kenya, the report underlines the principle that biodiversity conservation must coincide with sustainable natural resource management for the benefit of the local people: here.

Tanzania steps up for the Serengeti and says ‘no’ to asphalt road: here.

Mining of soda ash at Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania is not economically viable, experts have warned. A new Cost Benefit Analysis report shows that projected return on investment over the next 50 years would be a loss of between $44,354,728 and $492,142,797, even if exempted from paying tax by the Government: here.

Tanzania: Lake Natron Flamingos at Risk – Expert Warns: here.

Major flamingo breeding event begins on Lake Natron: here.

September 2012. Stakeholders have given a nod of approval to a new economic analysis study showing that soda ash mining at Lake Natron is not economically viable. Speaking this week at a meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to disseminate the report, participants said tourism should be promoted at Lake Natron rather than soda ash mining. The Cost Benefit Analysis report shows that projected return on soda ash investment over the next 50 years would be a loss of between $44,354,728 and $ 492,142,797, even if exempted from paying tax by the Government: here.

The Lake Natron Update Bulletin for October 2013 is out.  The latest issue highlights continued interest by the Government of Tanzania to build a soda ash plant at Lake Natron, the most important breeding site for Lesser Flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor).  BirdLife International, Lake Natron Consultative Group, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and local communities at Lake Natron are opposed to these plans citing possible breeding disruption: here.

Fri, 29/11/2013 – 08:29. The proposed soda ash mining at Lake Natron has suffered another major blow as a new scientific study shows that such an activity would “almost certainly” wipe out the Lesser Flamingo population.  The study also shows that ninety per cent of the Lake is important for flamingo survival. Lesser Flamingos also breed occasionally when conditions are right and this is difficult to predict and monitor: here.

8 thoughts on “Tanzanian Serengeti, Lake Natron threatened

  1. “The Pink Concern” – A Poem by Carol Njoki

    Wed, May 4, 2011


    Always yearning to see you
    Always coming across other beauties on the way
    But my visit is never complete
    Without you
    The pink beauties
    Carpeting the lakes
    Don’t you amaze me?
    Those legs, the long necks…. aaaah!
    That play among you
    That dance
    That sieving beak
    That carefully selects your food
    That though not visible to me
    Determines your pink colour
    Determines your each day of life
    Determines your moment on earth
    Wonderfully made
    To withstand that I regard as harsh water
    To follow your biological instinct
    That directs you to your
    Other pink beauties
    To your source of food
    To your pink maternity
    Amazed ….
    That when you want to bring forth
    The next pink generation
    You make that sacrificial
    Long flight to Lake Natron
    The only pink maternity
    For the rest of the East African
    Pink beauties
    That what I regard as harsh
    Is the ideal for you
    To raise your next pink generation
    Eventually colouring the soda lakes
    With that pink distinct colour
    That your pink bank – The Natron
    For many generations
    May be no more
    In your pink maternity
    Lies the soda gold
    Eyed for human wealth
    But stored just an inch beneath
    Your delicate and only birth place
    That the human interest in your maternity – The Natron
    Will remove your pink colour
    Even where I used to find you
    That this will not just remain
    A Tanzanian story
    But an East African disaster
    For it is in Natron,
    Only Natron!
    That breeds our Flamingos
    Will breed no more pink
    But instead breed more human wealth
    At the expense of your sensitivity and fragility
    That each time I see you flying
    Up in the sky
    Heading to the Natron
    You might come back to Kenya
    But minus your next pink generation
    Until your are eventually wiped out
    I want to endlessly see and be met
    By thy pink beauty on our lakes
    As your beauty spreads across borders
    The flying ambassadors who unite us
    Will I watch and wait
    To listen when your story becomes another tale
    That whenever I want to see and be met by your beauty
    I have to refer to the books and peoples memories?
    OR ….
    Will I be the pink ambassador?




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