Developers want to build a huge soda ash plant on the internationally protected Lake Natron in Tanzania pumping salty water from the lake for the production and export of sodium carbonate or washing soda. They also plan to house more than 1,000 construction staff on site.
Lake Natron hosts more than 500,000 lesser flamingos in summer – 75 per cent of the world’s breeding population - and has been the bird’s only nesting site in East Africa for 45 years.
It is listed by the international Ramsar Wetland Convention and designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. Dr Chris Magin, the RSPB’s International Officer for Africa, said: “Putting Lake Natron at risk is bonkers. It is a pristine site like no other in the world.
“The chances of lesser flamingos continuing to breed at Lake Natron in the face of such mayhem are next to zero. This development will leave lesser flamingos in East Africa facing extinction and should be stopped in its tracks and sunk in water so deep it can never be revived.”
Consultants for Lake Natron Resources Limited, which is part of the Indian company TATA Chemicals, will today (July 12) host a workshop to make public only part of its report on the environmental impact of the salt ash proposals.
Lake Natron Resources wants to install heavy machinery to pump water from the lake and build a coal-run power station and housing for workers on site. It could also introduce a hybrid shrimp to the lake to increase the salinity of the water.
Conservationists in Africa and the UK are determined to influence the environmental report before it goes to the Tanzanian government but many have been barred from the workshop including the Lake Natron Consultative Group, which represents a number of environmental organisations.
Lota Melamari, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, is attending the workshop. He said: “Whatever the decision, the survival of the lesser flamingo must not be jeopardised. The opportunity to see so many of these colourful birds together on one site is one of Africa’s most popular tourist attractions.”
Lake Natron is in the Great Rift Valley in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. It is known as a soda lake because of its high concentration of sodium carbonate.
It is one of only five breeding sites for lesser flamingos in the world but if it is damaged, there is no evidence that the birds will breed successfully elsewhere.
Dr Magin said: “This could be the beginning of the end for the lesser flamingo. Millions of people have enjoyed the spectacle of flocks of flamingos in Tanzania and Kenya and all of that is now in jeopardy.
“Bringing an alien species to the lake could cause damage that no-one can foresee and the world is already reeling from the consequences of both deliberate and accidental introductions of alien species including mink in the UK, rabbits in Australia and Nile perch in Lake Victoria in Africa.
“Today’s report could considerably underestimate the harm the soda ash development will do. If it does, it must be changed to reflect the serious and irreversible harm soda extraction will cause.”
Cath Harris | alfa
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine