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Kenyan officials say standard gauge
railway not to harm wildlife habitat

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The second phase of China-funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project that will be commissioned soon will not cause environmental harm to Nairobi National Park, Kenyan officials said on Tuesday.

Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) Managing Director Atanas Maina said solid measures have been put in place to ensure that the modern railway line does not interfere with movement of wildlife at the park located on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital.

Maina said a six-kilometer overpass will be installed inside the park to minimize human wildlife conflicts and environmental pollution.

He spoke against a backdrop of pressure from conservation lobby groups to reroute the modern railway line, fearing it could cause ecological harm to a key wildlife sanctuary.

Maina said the government relied on exhaustive environmental impact assessment before approving passage of the railway through Nairobi national park.

“The SGR will cross Nairobi National Park on a single line bridge similar to the one at the Tsavo National Park. It will be installed with noise deflectors to minimize noise pollution at the park,” Maina told reporters.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) chairman Dr Richard Leakey said an environmental impact assessment carried out by state agencies concluded that passage of the SGR through Nairobi national park would not harm wildlife habitat.

“We engaged in a transparent process before approving passage of the railway line through Nairobi National Park. It was a pragmatic choice to facilitate development of a critical infrastructure while protecting ecosystems,” said Leakey.



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