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The East African : July 21st 2014
30 The EastAfrican OUTLOOK JULY 19-25,2014 D E VE LO PME N T East Africa gets its first petroleum waste treatment, disposal plant The facility will t≥eat waste f≥om oil explo≥ation and p≥oduction activities By BARBARA AMONG Special Correspondent laboratory and safe disposal unit is being set up in western Uganda. Construction of the one mil- E lion cubic metre capacity plant in Hoima district has already started, and is being conducted by South African waste management firm, EnviroServ. The plant will treat waste generated from oil exploration and production activities, as well as other hazardous waste from across the region. EnviroServ operations di- rector - international, Rhyno Gouws told The EastAfrican that the company had acquired 100 acres that will be developed into a landfill facility to handle liquid and solid waste by November this year. The project is to be developed in phases over a five-year period. Site manager Renier Ek- steen said phase one of the project will see the construction of an onsite laboratory and partial development of the landfill, while phase two will involve the construction and completion of the landfill. EnviroServ, the biggest waste management firm in Southern Africa currently owns and operates five disposal facilities, including the region’s largest, the Holfontein site in Gauteng, South Africa. The company also operates in Namibia and Botswana. “We could also treat waste from Kenya and all other EAC member countries..., as we are doing in the SADC countries, where waste from these countries end up in South Africa,” said Mr Gouws. The landfill will have a func- tioning period of 20 years and thereafter, the land will be levelled and restored as per guidelines from the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema). After this period, landfills will be closely monitored for another 30 years to make sure they pose no threat of contamination. Each landfill will have layers of plastic liners about 1.5 metres thick, sand layers and bentonite (absorbent clay) to avoid seepage into the ground. ast Africa’s first hazardous oil waste treatment plant, Fastest g≥owing cities a≥e in Af≥ica, Asia By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent AFRICA AND ASIA are urbanising more rapidly than other regions of the world, according to the World Urbanisation Trends 2014 report. The rate of urbanisation on the two continents is increasing by 1.5 and 1.1 per cent per annum, respectively, compared with less than 0.4 per cent in regions that already have relatively high levels of urbanisation. The United Nation report shows that continued urbanisation and overall growth of the world’s population will add approximately 2.5 billion people to the urban population by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. “Africa is urbanising faster than in the late 1990s and is expected to be the fastest urbanising region between 2020 and 2050,” says the report. The report also notes that the A truck carrying consolidated waste awaits disposal at the Ngara waste consolidation site in Buliisa district, western Uganda. Pic: Barbara Among number of mega cities has nearly tripled since 1990, and by 2030, 41 urban centres are projected to house at least 10 million inhabitants each. Whereas several decades ago Petroleum waste is consid- ered hazardous as it includes solid waste from underground; it also carries additives in the form of chemicals used during drilling and the residues from oil processing. Environmentalists say one of the biggest public concerns currently is the management of oil waste. Hazardous waste, characterised by its flammability, corrosivity, toxicity and reactivity, needs to be analysed prior to treatment. “The specialised onsite The specialised onsite laboratory will have equipment to analyse and identify incoming waste.” Rhyno Gouws, EnviroServ operations directorInternational laboratory will have equipment to analyse and identify incoming waste, which will dictate the method of treatment and disposal,” said Mr Gouws. Currently, solid waste is contained at various isolated centres established by Nema; it is buried in pits lined with thick plastic sheets, while liquid waste is kept in pits lined with plastic materials. Hazardous waste accu- mulated during the oil exploration stage still lies in consolidation sites, awaiting disposal. Delays in disposing of this waste will affect the start of oil production as the companies concerned cannot begin production before disposing of the waste, according to Gloria Sebikari, senior communication officer at the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department. FIVE-YEAR PROJECT East Africa’s hazardous oil waste treatment plant, laboratory and safe disposal unit is to be developed in phases over a five-year period. PHASE ONE: Will see the construction of an onsite laboratory and partial development of the landfill. EnviroServ, the company behind the project has acquired 100 acres that will be Oil companies Tullow and Total have applied for production licences while China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has been granted a licence. EnviroServ is one of four companies Nema licensed in February to construct and operate waste treatment and disposal facilities. The other three are local firm Strategic Logistics Ltd, White Nile Consults Ltd in a joint venture with Tianjin Teda Landoo Oilfield Service Co Ltd, and McAlister Energy Resources Ltd. Nema’s waste disposal guide- lines give the firms several options of dealing with petroleum waste including diluting solid waste with soil and then spreading it on the land, pumping the liquid waste down the disposal wells and bio-treatment — degrading organic com- developed into a landfill facility to handle liquid and solid waste by November this year. PHASE TWO: Will involve the construction and completion of the landfill. The plant will treat waste generated from oil exploration and production activities, as well as other hazardous waste from across the region. most of the world’s largest urban centres were found in the more developed regions, today’s large cities are concentrated in the global South, and the fastest-growing are medium-sized cities with 500,000 to one million inhabitants, located in Asia and Africa. Megacities Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos are pounds in the exploration and production waste using biological processes. The guidelines also provide for onsite burial of waste in man-made or natural excavations such as pits. The guidelines, however, suggest that waste must first be stabilised to avoid pollutants migrating from the pits and contaminating usable water resources. The licensed companies are expected to begin work soon by disposing of the currently accumulated solid and liquid waste being kept by the oil companies. While government has al- lowed some of waste generated during exploration to be buried at site, waste generated during the production stage will have to be thoroughly treated before it can be buried. the only megacities in Africa, but three more are expected to emerge by 2030, as Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Luanda (Angola) are each projected to surpass the 10 million mark. The number of large cities with populations between five and 10 million in Africa is also expected to increase from three this year to 12 in 2030. “There is a great diversity in the characteristics of the world’s urban environs: Close to half of urban dwellers reside in relatively small settlements of less than 500,000 inhabitants, while nearly one in eight lives in the 28 megacities of 10 million inhabitants or more,” says the report. While the level of urbanisation is expected to increase in all regions, with Africa and Asia projected to be 56 and 64 per cent urban by mid-century, respectively, the two continents are still expected to be less urbanised than other regions of the world. The most urbanised regions are North America (82 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (80 per cent) and Europe (73 per cent).
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