By: FELIX WAROM OKELLO
ARUA: Local leaders in Arua District have expressed concern over environmental degradation due to ongoing oil exploration.
They expressed concern that if the exploration and exploitation of oil is not handled properly, it could lead to contamination of Lake Albert and River Nile, causing massive death of fish species and other fauna.
The leaders said since some of the oil wells are near wildlife sanctuaries, efforts should be taken to conserve the environment and ensure that habitat of animals is not destroyed.
Speaking during a meeting convened by the Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment, a non- governmental organisation, in Arua recently, the Aroi Sub-county councillor, Mr Sabo Kamilo, said the government should not only focus on reaping from oil money but also engage in environmental protection.
“After several years of exploitation, the oil money may end but the environment would continue and if we have then depleted at this time, the future would be bleak for even human beings and animals that need to live in better environment,” Mr Kamilo said.
They said poor waste management could lead to degradation of farm land, leading to food shortage and poverty.
The Rev Canon Isaac Chandia said there was need to strengthen waste management in oil exploration sites.
The environment and natural resources consultant, Mr Paul Twebaze, said the oil exploration activities near game parks and reserves, including drilling, vibrations and the sounds of machines, is disturbing and frightening animals, leading to their migration.
“The attacks by elephants in Nwoya District could not be a mystery because the elephants could be looking for safe places since they could have sensed danger,” he said.
Mr Wilfred Saka, the councillor for Uriama Sub-county, said: “The oil companies should make it a priority to protect environment.”
Source: Daily Monitor