The National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) chairman, Mr. Samuel Gwamaka stated that the regulatory body had given a go ahead to the development of the Stigler`s Gorge Project.
He said that NEMC being the institution responsible for the management of the environment had ensured that all environment and social impact assessments had been made before the project was allowed to progress. He dismissed views that due diligence on environmental effects was not done, following critics` claim that the government ignored professional advice and pushed with the plan to roll out the project .
He said this during a tour of the project site by the NEMC board of directors. He assured the NEMC officials that the implementation of the project would not harm the environment and promised frequent visits to the project site to ensure compliance to environmental protection.
He further remarked that the project had great significance to Tanzania`s development and economic growth citing the national industrialization campaign led by President John Magufuli. Mr. Gwamaka also called upon people to appreciate the importance of protecting water bodies, especially those pouring water into the Rufiji basin so as to ensure sustainability of the project. He said NEMC would emphasize on public education in a bid to make people active players in protecting the environment, particularly people living near water sources.
The Stigler`s Gorge Project involves the construction of a 2,100 Megawatts hydro electric power dam. The power station will be located across the Rufiji River, at the Stigler`s gorge in the Selous Game Reserve located in the Morogoro Region, approximately 220 kilometers (137 mi), by road, southwest of Dar es Salaam the commercial capital and largest city of Tanzania. Selous Game Reserve, one of the world’s largest World Heritage sites, measures 45,000 square kilometers (17,000 square miles). The power station and reservoir lake are planned to occupy approximately 1,350 square kilometers (520 square miles), within the game reserve.