Activists say no to Okavango Delta oil exploration
25 February 2021 | Environment
The drilling is conducted by a Canadian oil company ReconAfrica, which licenses 2.2 million acres in Botswana and 6.3 million acres in Namibia, for a total property of 8.5 million acres in the deep Kavango Basin.
In petitions and open letters handed over to the National Assembly and Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLF), the activists pleaded for the suspension of the project stating that it could amplify human-wildlife conflicts due to the proximity of the drilling site and community crop fields.
The activists also pointed out that the prospecting of fossil fuels during climate and ecological emergency is reckless and goes against the Paris Agreement which Namibia is a signatory of.
“The environmental impact assessment is greatly flawed and seems rushed. We urge our leaders to intervene and to uphold the Namibian constitution, in the name of the environment, our people, and our economy,” they said.
Protesters expressed concern over the amount of water to be extracted for the project citing the risk of underground water pollution and its consequences, potential harm of viable ecosystems, and disturbance to economic activities such as eco-tourism efforts.
“Irresponsibly scenarios such as the unlined drill mud pit at ReconAfrica’s first test drill site say a lot about their efforts to mitigate contamination of underground water, which will harm people and wildlife,” they said, adding that the oil drilling project’s effects will not be restricted to Namibia due to the critical water network supporting ecosystems spanning several countries including Angola and Botswana.
Accepting the petition, National Assembly secretary, Lydia Kandetu said that the message has been received and will be passed on to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi who will further pass it on to the chamber for discussion.
Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Agriculture, Chrispin Matongela, who received the petition on behalf of Minister Calle Schlettwein, said the issues outlined will be forwarded to the minister for consultation with the cabinet to find ways on how they will be resolved. – Nampa