New Kenya rail route could pose issues for the environment

World Today

Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway(SGR) runs through two of Kenya’s national parks. Some oppose the construction, but efforts are being made to minimize the environmental impact.

CGTN’s Clementine Logan reports.

Last year, Kenya Railways signed an agreement with the Kenya Wildlife Service and National Land Commission to realign part of the SGR’s path through Nairobi National Park.

The Standard Gauge Railway will crisscross some of East Africa’s most scenic landscapes. This also includes Tsavo West National Park, where the China Road & Bridge Corporation has built six wildlife crossings.

The underpasses were constructed with input from conservation organizations. Some elephants use them, but others struggle to cross over to other ecosystems. Environmentalists have said maintaining connectivity between them is key.

Some said the railway will disturb ecosystems and set a precedent for development inside the country’s national parks. Plans for the SGR to cut across Nairobi National Park sparked protests.

Kenya Railways and its consultants though have said it’s the most viable route, and that steps have been taken to minimize any disruption to wildlife.

The multi-billion dollar railway line is designed to carry several million tons of cargo each year by 2035. The Kenyan government has said it will boost the local and regional economy.