The Executive Director of the National Environmental Management Authority, Dr. Tom Okurut has said environmental management is a key factor in the development of Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector, Resource Management and Financial Management being the other key elements in the sector.
While speaking at 1st Petroleum Industry Environmental Management Conference held at Speke Resort Munyonyo from 3rd to 4th November 2014 Okurut said NEMA’s mandate is to ensure that exploitation of oil in the Albertine grabben doesn’t negatively impact on Lake Albert’s biodiversity.
“Ordinary people in Uganda are not worried by whether oil is going to make them rich or poor but they fear that this oil is going to bring something else, mainly destroy the environment and livelihood.” the NEMA Boss emphasized
Though he acknowledged that oil discovery and exploitation in the country had sparked off fear, anxiety, hope as well as loss of land and livelihoods he was quick to assert that the authority had, so far, competently protected the environment.
“Definitely, there will be some change on the environment, but our task is to manage that change and ensure that it is minimal,” he said.
Okurut attacked those who are critical of NEMA’s capacity to monitor waste management, arguing that their comments were ill-founded. He said it was not by accident that for the last eight years there had been no major environmental incident in the oil industry. For instance, he said, NEMA had ensured successful exploration of oil in the Murchison Falls national park.
The conference was organised by the Norwegian Petroleum Academy (NPA) and its local subsidiary Rtenn, National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and Actionaid Uganda.
Read more about what was said in the conference on environmental management and how oil waste can be turned into a source of income here