Environmental implications of the proposed materials handling and ship-loading facility for the export of titanium at the port of mombasa Kenya
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A proposal has been made by Tiomin, Kenya to construct a materials handling and ship loading facility at Likoni in the vicinity of the port of Mombasa, Kenya. The proposed ship-loading site is a “brown-fields site”, which has been exposed to industrial and shipping activities for many years. Mangroves form the only significant marine habitat in the bay and show stress from previous oil spills. This study evaluates if implementation of the project, which includes construction of a warehouse and a jetty, could significantly compound the pollution problem. To achieve this, the project document, describing the construction and operational activities was obtained and a specialist study to describe the physical and biological environment, the currents dynamics for the area all year round were undertaken to predict the risk of accidents related to bad weather, indicating how the currents may transport oil (in the case of oil spill) to affect the mangrove habitat. The methods used to accomplish this study included a desk-top study for published information on the area, field visits to observe and describe the environment, and use made of the method for impact identification and evaluation developed by the Coastal and Environment Services, South Africa. Potential impacts revealed by the study included changes to water quality arising from sediment loading into the marine environment due to excavation activities, changes to benthic environment due to propeller wash during manoeuvring/docking, tank cleaning etc, effects on the water column from spillage the export minerals, potential impacts from invasive species from ballast water discharges, etc. Construction impacts were evaluated to be severe but of short-term duration. Such impacts are judged to be insignificant. On the other hand, operation impacts will be routine and may have moderate to significant impacts, if mitigation measures are not put in place and sustained. On mitigation, most of these impacts reduce to low impact and significance. However, the discharge of ballast water should not be allowed. Having established that most impacts were insignificant, it was concluded that implementation of the project would not significantly compound the existing environment condition in the harbour, and as such, implementation of the project was recommended.