Scientists warn over plan to demolish Makupa Causeway
Last month, Governor Hassan Joho announced that President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered the removal of Makupa Causeway in Kibarani to protect Mombasa’s island status, exciting tourism players that congestion would be addressed. However, scientists and environmentalists have come out to warn the government over the plans saying Kenyan coastal beaches will be affected by the demolition of the colonial causeway.
Traffic jam at the notorious Kibarani along Makupa in Mombasa causeway in this picture taken on 25 May 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Demolishing Makupa Causeway will have a negative impact on marine life, affecting and polluting Coastal beaches with garbage from Kibarani, scientists have warned. The experts say if the beaches are polluted, it will negatively impact on tourism sector, which is among Kenya’s top foreign exchange earners.Last month, Governor Hassan Joho announced that President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered the removal of Makupa Causeway in Kibarani to protect Mombasa’s island status, exciting tourism players that congestion would be addressed.
However, scientists and environmentalists have come out to warn the government over the plans saying Kenyan coastal beaches will be affected by the demolition of the colonial causeway.According to Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean (CORDIO) East Africa director David Obura, removing the causeway which was built in 1920s should be halted and other alternatives put in place.Dr Obura said removal of the Makupa Causeway, which links Mombasa island and West Mainland will damage, will affect the Tudor creek located in the island side, spewing Kibarani polluted waters over to Nyali and Bamburi beaches.The causeway is one of three road links between the island and the mainland — the other two being Nyali Bridge and Kipevu Causeway.The Makupa Causeway links Mombasa island to the west mainland, the region’s industrial and transport hub where Moi International Airport, Standard Gauge Railway, Kenya Pipeline among other industries, are located in Changamwe.
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The scientist said Kibarani area is polluted due to the former colonial dumpsite which spewed garbage to the Ocean.“It will be damaging to Tudor creek if the existing Makupa Causeway is removed as part of the development. The fish there is also poisonous, I think people should not be eating or even fish there. It is a highly polluted area; the dumpsite has been there for so long,” Dr Obura warned.The scientist said the Makupa Causeway damaged the creeks some 100 years ago.“There is a need of planning discussion given that this area is so polluted. Why not landfill it? It is not a productive ocean anymore, it is not good for food or biodiversity,” Dr Obura said.“It is right close to the centre of the town, why not extend Mombasa island and mainland by landfilling it the right way?”But hoteliers led by the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers official Sam Ikwaye urged the scientists to come up with workable solutions to ensure the beaches are not polluted.Mr ikwaye said the developments should not affect tourism.“We are happy with how the government has pumped into the road transport infrastructure at the Coast. We want to improve the outlook of the destination but the infrastructure must be expanded. We should manage challenges of accessibility of the destination, it is a critical causeway we should consider technology like bypasses,” Mr Ikwaye said.Dr Obura said the land could be used for housing, industrial development or expansion of the port than worsening the environmental impact by removing the causeway.