ESIA of the proposed upgrade for Bombo-Ndegye-Kalasa road
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The government of Uganda through Uganda National Roads Authority plans to upgrade the existing Bombo-Ndejje-Kalasa road from gravel to bitumen. In accordance with the requirements of the Third Schedule of the National Environment Act Cap 153 this upgrade requires an ESIA study. Makerere University EIA Post graduate students (2019) took part in the ESIA Study. The overall objective of the study was to identify and assess the potential environmental and social impacts of the proposed project. The ESIA methodology involved identifying, analysing, assessing the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of the proposed project and proposing mitigation measures and environmental management plans for the proposed infrastructure investments. The data collection was carried out through questionnaires, focused group discussions, use of checklists, observations and photography, site visits, desktop and environmental studies. The general steps followed during the assessment were as follows: a) Environment screening, in which the project was identified as among those requiring environmental impact assessment b) Environmental scoping that provided the key environmental issues c) Desktop studies d) Physical inspection of the area and surrounding areas e) ESIA Public participation via the use of questionnaires/ interviews/ meetings / focused group discussion f) Data analysis and g) Report preparation. The project road is located in Luwero District The road starts from Kalasa trading centre along Matugga Semuto road through Katiiti, Ndejje and finally connecting to Bombo town. The covers a length of 18.091Km. Potential Environmental and Social Impacts of the proposed project included : - Positive Impacts: The positive impacts identified include; creation of employment opportunities, transfer of skills, corporate social responsibility, provision of market and supply for building materials, provision of a cheaper and faster means of transport, improved ambient air quality /reduction in particulate matter emissions (dust), improved road safety, improved landscape and scenery and improved transport infrastructure. - Negative Impacts: Pre-Construction Phase (Planning and design phase) • Land Expropriation, Loss of Property and Resettlement • Social Expectations • Assault/Attack/Intimidation/Detention Construction Phase Displacement of Residents, Displacement of Businesses and Community Services • Disruption of Livelihoods • Noise Pollution • Excessive Vibrations • Occupational health and Safety Concerns • Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases • Gender Based Issues • Cultural Heritage • Interference of Existing Development Infrastructure • Influx of Immigrants •Drug abuse, Gambling and Prostitution • Increase in Crime/ Security Threats • Theft of Construction Materials Negative Physical Impacts • Air pollution • Dust Emissions • Increased Generation of Solid Waste • Modification of Hydrology • Hygiene Concerns (Discharge of Wastewater, Sewage and Degradation of Water Quality) • Generation of Storm Water and Impact on Drainage • Increased Soil Erosion Risk and Soil Quality Degradation • Impact on Aesthetics Negative Biological Impacts • Loss of Vegetation Cover and Biodiversity • Invasive and Alien Species (IAS) • Disturbance to Wildlife • Increased Water and Soil Pollution Cumulative Impacts • Siltation of Drainage Channels and Water Courses • Breakdown in Moral Fabric • Other planned projects (Kampala-Bombo Express Way • Air Quality Impacts • Noise Impact • Social Impacts The Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) presented the implementation schedule of the proposed mitigation measures for the project identified impacts. The ESMP also includes the associated costs needed to implement the recommended mitigation measures. The implementation will involve the contractor, the Resident Engineer, Environmentalist, Sociologist, Health and Safety Expert, Local Councils, infrastructure users and the local communities at large Auditing and Monitoring of the ESMP Section 3 (3) c of the National Environment Act, Cap 153 makes it a requirement for ongoing activities, which are likely to have environmental impacts to be subjected to an environmental audit in accordance with Section 22 of the Act. The Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations make it a requirement to follow up projects that carried out an EIA with an Audit at least three years after the commencement of the project. The aim of the audit is to unveil the actual performance of ESMP and allow for incorporation of effective measures as the development proceeds. As per the Audit regulations, undertaking of the environmental audits would be the responsibility of the developer (UNRA). Conclusion: The study shows that the proposed road project is economically feasible. The findings show that the road shall improve commercial accessibility to the project area and provide the communities with connectivity to social facilities and markets. It has the potential to open up the area and subsequently connect it to markets in Kampala. Besides, the road will greatly reduce the travel time between Kampala, Luwero, Northern region and West Nile. In addition, it will enable communities optimize on the existing economic activities. There is general acceptability of the project but on the other hand, there are anticipated negative environmental and social implications that need to be addressed thus appropriate mitigation measures should be integrated in the all project implementation phases to ensure its sustainability. Recommendations: The proposed project was found to be feasible and timely for the economic development and growth of the project area and to ensure it meets its objectives holistically it is recommended that: Mitigation measures proposed in the ESMP should form an integral part of decision making during the planning and construction of the project road; Continuous monitoring of project impacts, effectiveness of the mitigation measures and consultations with community members should be undertaken and details recorded; and • Institute effective communication, education and awareness towards the project beneficiaries for enhanced acceptability and social harmony.