“Over 18,000 residents of Engaruka area of Lake Natron, Tanzania, are up in arms against a government plan to build a soda ash factory in the area. Over the past one year, the National Development Corporation (NDC) has been carrying out intensive exploration of soda ash deposits to complement those at Lake Natron.
At a press conference held at an Arusha hotel last week, the residents condemned the plan terming it a threat to their livelihood and the environment. Led by Mr. Alex Babulo, Ms Noosikito Rwako and Loserian Ramadhani they said they were not consulted on the matter: they just saw big trucks and machinery appear one morning and starting work.
The local communities are worried that soda ash mining will deplete scarce water resources, destroy land that is used for livestock keeping and agriculture and chase away the many birds, including flamingos, that regularly use Lake Engaruka.