Tanzania yet to decide on highway across Serengeti
Wednesday 14 July 2010
Tanzania has not yet decided whether to go ahead with constructing a 300-mile highway across the vast, renowned Serengeti National Park, an official told AFP on Saturday.
Environmentalists have voiced concern the planned road between the northern town of Arusha, across the UNESCO-listed wildlife sanctuary to the shores of Lake Victoria, would devastate the ecosystem and disrupt wildlife migration.
Some lawmakers have also argued that the road would be a freeway for poachers.
"The plan is still at the ministerial level. When it reaches us, we will decide and the decision will be made public," a senior official in the vice president's office told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Natural Resources Assistant Minister Ezekiel Maige told AFP Tuesday that the government had commissioned an environmental impact study and that no decision had yet been taken.
"The decision has not been made. We are concerned about protecting the environment as well as the development of our people. Residents in this region also need development," Maige said.
The annual wilderbeest migration between Serengeti and Kenya's Maasai Mara wildlife reserve would be severely afffected, environmentalists say.
The 14,763-square-kilometre Serengeti is key to Tanzania's tourism, which is one of the east African country's main foreign exchange earners.
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