MINING ACTIVITIES

Monitoring Kenya's environment tops agenda at Oil, Gas stakeholders meet

Research to identify potential gaps of the respective national monitoring frameworks.

In Summary

• Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry this week held deliberations to discuss the gaps in monitoring the state of Kenya's environment emanating from the mining and exploration activities.

• The deliberations on Monday saw the Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group bring together CSOs and stakeholders to discuss the crucial environmental monitoring processes.

The Saxon Oil Rig.
The Saxon Oil Rig.
Image: KENYA OIL AND GAS WORKING GROUP

Stakeholders in the oil and gas industry this week held deliberations to discuss the gaps in monitoring the state of Kenya's environment emanating from the mining and exploration activities.

The deliberations on Monday saw the Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group bring together CSOs and stakeholders to discuss the crucial environmental monitoring processes.

“Monitoring the state of the environment in Kenya and many African countries have been an enormous challenge, more so in the oil and gas exploration and mining activities in Kenya,” said Muturi Kamau, the director of the Kenya Oil and Gas Working Group (KOGWG).

Kamau said environmental effects monitoring has heavily relied on observation.

"However, to gauge the effects of oil and gas exploration on the environment, deployment of technology equipment for air, water, and soil sampling are badly needed," he told CSOs and stakeholders.

"The various equipment will enable testing water PH, measuring the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and soil measuring.”

The extensive research will strengthen evidence-based advocacy to identify potential gaps and weaknesses of the respective national monitoring frameworks and their implementation.

In 2019, WWF Norway prepared a report titled ‘Scoping an initiative dubbed State of The Environment Related to Oil and Gas Exploration and Extraction in Uganda and Kenya’ undertaken in 2019.

It focused on Uganda's and Kenya’s national monitoring and gaps and weaknesses expressed by different stakeholders related to governmental monitoring.

The report identifies ways of reporting monitoring results to the lead environmental agencies in charge of monitoring and compliance and monitoring gaps between what is done and what should be done.

“Consistent monitoring of the state of the environment through data collection, research and policy review & informing is crucial in ensuring the adverse environmental effects are averted,” said Kamau.

The deliberation brought out the essential role environmental monitoring and regulations reviewing plays in ensuring the ecosystem is protected.

Emphasising the dangers of promoting development at the expense of a healthy environment could lead to dire environmental predicaments.