Pump-jack mining crude oil with the sunset

How will East African Crude Oil Pipeline affect the environment?

The construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline is certain to escalate Climate change in the East African sub-region says Andrew Mugonza

Despite being accredited and invited to attend COP26 as a Youth Power Climate Rep, Andrew’s visa has not been issued. Share Andrew’s blog using #missingmajority #cop26 to help make sure his voice is heard at COP26.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is estimated to add 34 million metric tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere every year. 

EACOP or The Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline is currently under construction. The pipeline will transport crude oil from Uganda’s Albertine region in Hoima to the Port of Tanga, Tanzania along the East African coast on the Indian Ocean. Its construction is certain to escalate Climate change in the East African sub-region and is a major threat to mankind. 

Effect on environment and natural habitat

Once completed, EACOP is expected to affect a number of key environmental sites including; Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park which is known for its wildlife, particularly large mammals. EACOP further runs through the Taala Forest Reserve, among small private owned forests that are going to be cleared. This will contribute to the already escalating deforestation in the country. Uganda is losing about 10,000 hectares of forest per year.

The two oil fields; the Kingfisher field is operated by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd, and the Tilenga field is operated by French Oil Giant Total. The oil extraction will take place within the Murchison Falls-Albert Delta Wetland System, a Ramsar site that plays an immense role to protect wildlife in the National Park, and indigenous fish species.

The pipeline will also run near or through a number of important Ramsar sites that lie west of Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. These include Mabamba Bay, the Lake Mburo-Nakuvali System, the Nabajjuzi Ramsar city System, and the Sango Bay- Musambwa Island. EACOP poses high risks of freshwater pollution and degradation, particularly to the Lake Victoria basin, where 400 kilometres of the pipeline will run through.

In Tanzania, the pipeline will run through the Biharamulo Game Reserve and Wembere Steppe Key Biodiversity Area which is important for birds and elephant habitats.

East African Crude Oil Pipeline and carbon emissions

It is estimated that emissions from burning the oil transported by the pipeline could emit at least 34.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The amount is greater than the current annual emissions produced by Uganda and Tanzania combined, greater than Switzerland (32.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020), and Norway (31.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020).

A total of 5,300 hectares of land will be needed for the construction and operation of the pipeline displacing 14,000 households.

Working for Change 

The environmentalists in the sub-region have been working to stop the construction of EACOP. However, their efforts have not yet yielded any improvement, as both Ugandan and Tanzanian governments are moving forward with the construction of the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline.

As a climate activist, I have denounced the construction of the pipeline together with other climate activists. However, the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments are committed to constructing the pipeline against all odds.

I adopted tree planting as one of the ways of taking Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, to reduce the 34.3 million metric tons of Carbon dioxide expected to be produced by the pipeline.

With the help of organizations including Fridays for Future Uganda, Restless Development, Green Climate Campaign Africa we have carried out awareness programs in the Albertine region to plant more trees as possible. We are in negotiation with local leaders and individuals in the Albertine region to offer land where we can plant trees. 

It is a shame that our leaders debate climate change when they are venturing into a project that emits 34.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. I would like to share this information with the leaders at COP26 and the young people that make up the Missing Majority.

As the Community mobiliser and liaison officer for Friday’s For Future Uganda, I present the 12 key points from “Young Ugandan Voices for COP26 Report”.

  1. Global Plastic law
  2. Introduce renewable energy grants for youth 
  3. Create environment watchdog in Uganda 
  4. Integrate climate education in the school curriculum 
  5. Global south Environmental Youth awards 
  6. Renewable energy subsidy 
  7. Introduce climate information centres 
  8. Protect environment defenders 
  9. Increase youth adaptation funding 
  10. Create an inter-ministry climate action committee
  11. Support youth ecopreneurship 
  12. Create climate youth council

We need a climate revolution to save our planet and  I offer to lead the Climate revolution in my community. 

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Andrew Mugonza

Andrew is an Environmentalist and Climate Activist who raises awareness about climate change where most organisations or activists can not go, working mostly with young people, girls and women and young people in the remote areas of Uganda. Andrew has started an online media platform called Whisper Eye to report about climate change while he also volunteers at Fridays For Future Uganda.

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How will East African Crude Oil Pipeline affect the environment?

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