Georg Caspary of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris which is the research institute of Groupe d'Economie Mondiale and also a leading French public policy economic think tank, has fielded a number of questions for the LHDA’s attention. The research focuses on the integration of social and environmental safeguards in the financing of large dam projects.
What were the key environmental impacts during construction (i.e
environmental impacts resulting from the construction sites) ?
Answer 4 : Key environmental impacts included
Noise pollution from the blasting activities and construction vehicles.
Blasting expeditions: Communities were advised through early communication messages of warning that a blasting expedition was imminent, by informing local chiefs, who in turn would send messengers to spread the news further. Construction workers also manned selected sites/ places to stop traffic going either way. A lorry went around in nearby villages spreading the message as well. Sirens would then go at the actual construction site repeatedly giving off warning sites.
Construction Vehicles: They were not allowed to operate the klaxon. They also moved at reduced speed limits.
2. Dust from road construction, tunneling and other activities that produce dust in high levels
was used to upgrade gravel roads and a truck load of water was available
to douse off dust levels on the roads. Water spraying was also done in the
construction of new access roads where a lot of dust. Was produced in the
Blasting activities resulted in stones and boulders falling off onto fields and other property. In the case of stones and boulders falling onto fields, an agreement was taken with the owner to pay compensation for as long as the stones were in the area. The compensation addressed loss of harvest from the field for period. At the end of construction, the fields would then be cleaned up and reverted to owner for re-use. Compensation disbursement were therefore curtailed.
In a case where a house was affected, prior arrangement was undertaken to relocate the family up or downhill as they wished. A new house was built with improved housing dimensions of larger steel window frames, corrugated iron sheets with ceiling, vinyl floor tiles with skirting, painted interior walls.
4. Disturbed Landscape
The landscape usually suffered disturbances from quarrying road construction and camping activities.
A temporary controlled disturbance was permissible. Environmental Monitors from LHDA and the Consultants monitored the extent of the degradation for compliance with set limits during construction mode. Later environmental management activities were engaged such as regressing and gabion construction. Local communities were then engaged in the rehabilitation programmes where they worked in rosters/shifts and earned a living as they restored the natural landscape.
5. Water Pollution
Constant weekly monitoring of the rivers and streams receiving effluent discharges from the construction sites was effected by Environmental monitors on both sides. Priority constituent indices included oil traces, suspended solids, brine, nitrates and phosphates, alkalinity, turbidity, acidity and pH. The effluent into receiving water comprised waste water from canteens and ablution areas.
Waste oils was stored in drums on site and later collected by a company in South Africa who had asked for permission to collect the used oil for recycling back home.
Waste disposal ponds were constructed to collect and contain waste water from construction for primary settlement of heavier solids before final discharge into the receiving streams and rivers.
Efficient and quality effluent discharges from the ablution and canteens was effected through use of ionic exchange filtration and dosing with ionic polymers.
6. Draining of Springs
There were a few areas like Ha Molapo in Butha-Buthe where communities submitted claims that the tunneling work underground drained their wells. The Communities were compensated for loss of the water supply and provided with much improved water quality from water tanks built from bricks and protected. The water supplies provide for both the people and their animals.
7. Inundation of biological resources
These included resources such as the Maluti Minnow, palaeontological and archeological resources. qv for more details.
8. Management of muck, spoil and other waste disposal
Muck : Muck was disposed off at designated locations within the construction area for purposes of rehabilitating disturbed location. Some landscaping was effect to ensure it blended with the immediate surrounding.
Spoil : It was either used on gravel roads or disposed off in terraces on designated locations, again for purposes of rehabilitating disturbed areas, or creating new picturesque landscapes that were grassed to belend with the immediate surroundings.
Other waste: This included solid waste such as lunch boxes from construction workers, waste tin cans, plastic bags and bottles as throwaways by travelers and bus and taxi passengers. A massive cleaning campaign was effected. Waste bins were placed at strategic view points, construction workers were mobilized to pick up waste from the site location. There were agreements with the contractor to remove waste along the road corridors. Transport owners were advised to place awareness messages in their vehicles advising passengers not to throw waste outside through the windows but to leave it in the vehicles where the drivers and their assistants then deposited at waste bins placed at designated points.
Massive cleaning campaigns were organized by the LHDA in co-ordination with affected villages where to days were dedicated to actual removal of waste from road corridors particularly.
In addition, the LHDA selected locations along the main road where people could deposit large bags/containers of waste tins and cans for subsequent collection by a Waste Can collector company for recycling later. A can LHDA, also purchased a crusher which was placed at Katse. The purpose was to minimize the volume of the waste haulage.
© Copyright: Lesotho Highland Water Project
This website is under reconstruction, we apologise for the inconsistancy among web documents