As a citizen of the Republic of Malawi I would like to share, may be a little civic education on the subject above. This article is written without any political agenda, no! But, it is a real concern from deep down my heart. I am also trying to educate those who do not know the effects of oil drilling, at the same time, what affect oil drilling. As a result, Malawians must stand up in unison and put a stop to oil drilling.
Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa, a home to almost 1000 species. Lake malawi lies along the rift valley. Lake Malawi helps local people about 1.5million in districts like Karonga, which has the population of over 190,000 Nkhata- Bay which has the population of over 165,000 Nkhota-kota which has the population of over 225,000 Salima which has the population of over 245,000 and Mangochi with population of over 610,000.
Looking at these statistics 95% of the people from each districts, depend on commercial activities from this beautiful Lake Malawi. Lake malawi provides the most essential proteins to all 13,000,000 people of malawi and around the world. It is believed that Lake malawi has lived more than 2,000,000 years ago.
Oil and drilling on Lake Malawi ?
Oil drilling potentially have negative effects, especially to the local ecosystem. There are so many ways that can easily cause this to happen e.g. (A Spill): A spill can cause catastrophic damage if it is not contained quickly.People in these districts will feel the effect within a short period of time. This is the same as killing the back bone of socio-economical to Malawians.
We must think deep and have a vision for our country, ask: the decision we are making, what impact is it going to have on Malawians as a country ? Are our decisions helpful in the next 10-100 or even 1000 years to come? Thirdly and most important, let Malawians be involved in such critical times before the minority (government officials) make decisions for majority the (government, the people of Malawi).
If government officials make quick and hest decisions, Our lake will end up having no value at all, properties along this lake are going to be of no use. Think of all the resorts, hotels, beaches, commercial, and socio activities that are taking place there right now? From karonga to Mangochi such activities will not be there anymore. What about the people and wild life on Likoma Island, Chizumulu island, Birds island? Just to mentions a few hot spots. Oil leaks or spills can also have extremely negative effects on natural environment, containment failure, run off, pipeline accidents, and direct discharge.
We must know that no matter what, offshore Oil and Gas drilling releases toxic chemicals, these chemicals poses a significant risk to the environment. These risks affects wild life (aquatic ecosystem) and developmental effects. These toxic chemicals can accumulate and magnify in the food chain. This endangers the aquatic organisms higher in food chain such as fish and birds. This can also lead to a long term chronic exposure for aquatic organisms.
Economically, oil drilling will have an effect on tourism. The money that has been brought into malawi for the past 100 years and the years to come through this lake, can not be worth the oil that can be drilled from this lake. The quality of water as we speak is very healthy and clean. If we want to move with the world on green act law, (Malawi Go Green), Lake Malawi is our only hope in reaching such goals. We can use this lake by (eg). using solar irrigation system to areas that have no electricity and areas that are hard to find water for domestic and farm produce use. Having used the lake in this way, can help us to kill two birds with one stone, it can be an opening to many job opportunities to Malawians. Mind you, this can only be achieved if we keep our lake out from oil drilling.
Human and health impacts of oil leaks commonly occurs. People along the whole lake are going to be exposed to toxic chemicals from drilling wastes. As pollutants from oil drilling builds up in food chain, people who consume fish and other aquatic foods from Lake Malawi will be at a serious risk of health problems. There are so many diseases out there such as cancer and genetic defects. That can be so devastating to a country with small and limited economical resources like Malawi.
We must not only think or look at it financially gain, no, lets think about our people who live, breath, think and do all their day today undertakings using Lake Malawi as their primary life saver to have peace of mind. Peace of mind just as money is a result of what we do with who we are.
There will never be a recovery or repair to this beautiful lake. This is a big source of proteins, calcium, etc. A body with healthy and quality water. This lake is our Gold, let us not betray our great Lake by allowing these companies from the East, West, South or North exploiting our natural resources. As much as we are all aware that most of our natural resources has already been destroyed from luck of civic education on nature reserve.
Malawians, not anyone else, are the People who are more concerned. These companies have no concern at all, they are aiming at destroying our natural resources as much as they can, then leave us with a lake without any use or meaning. They will turn it into a dumping sink hole. Please my beloved Malawians, let us stand up and say “NO” to Oil drilling on Lake Malawi. “NEVER”.
Ask them, to go and drill in their countries. They have their own water bodies, but they can not drill because of the same reasons listed above. Their countries are still intact. It does not mean they don’t have oil, No, but, they do preserve their natural resources as well. They pretty much know that. These kind of natural resources bring about the beauty of their countries just as ours. They are stopped by their people. So do we.
As it has been stated already, Malawi must look towards 100 years or more to come, what lake Malawi can bring to it’s people. Let us say NO! To oil drilling on Lake Malawi.
*The author , Allan Ngumuya, is one of great gospel recorting musician in MalawiFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :