NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Adequate measures has put on the ground to
ensure the construction of China-funded high speed railway does not
harm the ecological health of key wildlife sanctuaries, Kenyan
officials have said.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) chairman
Richard Leakey told reporters in Nairobi that the Chinese contractor
and state agencies have agreed on a raft of measures to protect
wildlife sanctuaries from pollution during the construction of the
Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking Mombasa and Nairobi .
Kenya’s environmental watchdog has carried out a comprehensive
assessment on the impact of the SGR to flora and fauna. Leakey noted
that a negligible section of the railway line will pass through
"Fencing along the track will protect animals from fast moving
trains. Sections of the track passing through national parks will
also be elevated to enhance movement of wildlife and visitors," said
Officials from China Road and Bridge Corporation involved in
construction of the modern railway said overpasses will also be
established in other wildlife sanctuaries.
The SGR will also pass through Nairobi National Park at the final
stages and the contractor has agreed to construct three bridges
measuring one kilometer to elevate the track.
Leakey disclosed that an underpass measuring over 20 meters will
also be developed at the park to ease movement of wildlife and
President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 26 launched a two-kilometer
overpass at Tsavo National Park to ensure the railway does not
interfere with movement of wild animals.
"There will be minimal disturbance to the environment and
wildlife since the track passing through Nairobi National Park will
be elevated," said Leakey, adding that state agencies have agreed
that all future infrastructure projects passing through wildlife
sanctuaries should be elevated to allow free movement of animals.
"The government appreciates the critical role the standard gauge
railway will play in our socio-economic development.
"However, strict controls will be put in place to ensure the
project does not harm wildlife species," Leakey told journalists in
He refuted media reports that Kenya’s wildlife agency had ceded
298 acres of land at Nairobi National Park to pave way for the
construction of the modern railway.
"The original boundaries of Nairobi National Park will not be
altered and the total acreage will not be reduced due to
construction of the railway," Leakey said.
The SGR project is one of Kenya’s Vision 2030 flagship projects
that will play an important role in improving the transport system
as well as strengthening cooperation among East Africa Community (EAC)
The 472km railway is expected to cut by half the time passengers
take to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi from the current eight hours
to about four and a half hours.
Freight trains will reduce the time it takes to move cargo
between the two cities to eight hours.