The National Environment Tribunal has stopped the construction of a section of the standard gauge railway (SGR) set to pass through the Nairobi National Park until the environmental and social impact of the project is followed.
The National Environment Tribunal issued the order following a petition by activist Okiya Omtatah and the Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation and Management, who filed a petition against National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Wildlife Service, China Road and Bridge Corporation, Kenya Railways Corporation, the Attorney General and the ministries of Environment and Transport.
NEMA is accused of “failing to conduct a feasibility study for the project” and allowing the project to go on before an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
“All activities relating to the appeal in question must be stopped until the appeal is heard and determined by the tribunal,” said NET secretary Jashon Awuor.
Phase 2A of the SGR project, the Nairobi-Naivasha section, is intended to go through the middle of the Nairobi National Park for six kilometres, tearing the 12,000 hectares park into two and conservationists have been protesting the project arguing that it will disrupt the park’s ecosystem by displacing animals will and consequently increase cases of human-wildlife conflict.
“Who has valued the park and seen it has less value? We get more value from the park. Economic gains, even through tourism, are inestimable. This park will generate money for generations to come. Once you allow development in the Nairobi National Park, it will be gone forever and the development will be irreversible,” Africa Network for Animal Welfare chief Josphat Ngonyo said.
Uhuru was to launch the second leg of the SGR project in a major public event next Monday.
Last week on Friday, a group of environmentalists held protests in Nairobi to oppose the construction of the SGR through the Nairobi National Park, which is the only park in the world located in the city center.