HIMA Cement has just got a sh86b infusion from parent company Lafarge to build a second plant in Kasese. The new plant will step up production from the current 375,000 tonnes annually to 480,000 tonnes.
Increased limestone reserves will be made available when they open up the new Dura mine in Kamwenge district.
However, Hima cement has come under attack from environmentalists who are opposed to the Dura mine situated in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Hima Cement has already done an environmental impact assessment, which has been looked over by the National Environmental Management Authority and now awaits a green light.
Environmentalists are within their rights to scrutinise all projects that may have a toll on the environment and satisfy themselves that the project has put sufficient measures in place to mitigate any environmental consequences.
However, environmentalists should realise that environmentalism is not a zero-sum game, a winner-take-all endeavour.
It is inevitable that the environment will change with progress. The question is, how can development coexist with environmental conservation?
Well-managed development can cause a general rise in income levels through creation of jobs and markets and make feasible the use of renewable energies like hydro electric power, solar and wind power. As it is now, thousands of cubic metres of forest are being cut down to fuel our kitchens, build our huts and make way for our crops, causing irreparable damage to the environment.
No one is underplaying the impact environmental degradation can have on the future of our country. To forestall irreversible environmental damage, economic growth that can be translated into appropriate development is critical to guaranteeing our environment.
In fact environmental degradation in Africa is more a function of poverty than irresponsible development.
Environmentalists, regardless of their sponsors, need to assume a collaborative posture and not an antagonistic stance against investors and the countryâ€™s development agenda.
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