State Minister for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris, has challenged oil companies to take seriously the issue of tree planting in their areas of operation to mitigate the negative impact on environment.
He noticed that many trees are being felled down as projects advance expressing worry that short of proportionate replacement, it will have adverse effects on the general environment.
While speaking at the handover ceremony of 56 permanent houses to persons affected by the Kingfisher project, the minister stressed that his calls go to all sector players in the oil industry including the Tilenga project in Buliisa district.
In his detailed speech, Mr Lokeris did not underestimate the impact of tarmac roads network expansion in the Albertine region, project sites that affect the natural environment.
He warned that the side effects of environmental degradation will not only affect the oil project host communities but also the workers in the oil sector.
Mr Lokeris said most areas from where oil companies operate, people experience extreme high temperatures caused by insufficient heat absorbers unfavourable to them.
“Oil companies should consider planting trees on a large scale to avoid weather pattern changes as oil activities take place,” he said.
In response to the minister’s call, the Vice President CNOOC Uganda Ltd, Mr Ma Peixin, expressed commitment to protecting the environment since it is part of the corporation’s mandate.
He urged local leaders to work together with CNOOC Uganda Ltd to see a number of trees planted.
On the other side, the minister commended CNOOC for accomplishing the work of the construction resettlement houses for the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) that he said is a signal of tremendous progress of the project in harmony with the needs of the host communities and the oil policy.
The houses were handed over to the PAPs ahead of the construction schedules for the project infrastructure such as the Central Processing Facility (CPF), drilling camp, well pads and infield flow lines among others.
At the Thursday, July 14, 2022 function held at Buhuka village in Kyangwali Sub-county, Kikuube district, Mr Francis Kazini, the Buhaguzi county Member of Parliament urged the oil companies to consider employing more people from the host communities in order to prevent hostilities against the oil industry.
Mr Robinson Okecha, one of the PAPs, appreciated the houses constructed for them saying before the project, he lived in a grass thatched hut but currently he feels his life changed due to the new development.
Constructed for them besides a house, is a modern kitchen, a water tank, a Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine and solar power installation.