Experts warn against oil exploration in Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

Environmental experts have warned Malawi against oil exploration in Lake Malawi saying it has a lot of negative impacts on natural resources.

This was said on Monday evening at a meeting involving well-known environmental experts held at Lake Malawi National Park in Mangochi.

The experts included Professor Sosten Chiotha of LEAD Southern Africa, Professor Kenneth MacKaye of HEED Malawi, officials from Parks and wildlife department, environmental rights activist Godfrey Mfiti who is also head of Institute of Sustainable Development (ISD) and Christopher Magomero representing UNESCO.

Professor Sosten Chiotha
Professor Sosten Chiotha: Lake exploration is a threat.

At the meeting, the experts condemned government for licensing companies to start oil exploration on the lake. Godfrey Mfiti said oil exploration in the lake will affect quality of drinking water from the lake and will kill fish in the lake.

Mfiti who wrote the book Lake Malawi the Coming Disaster said conservation efforts of Lake Malawi National Park cannot be compatible with oil exploration as it threatens the outstanding universal values of Lake Malawi.

He further said it is very clear from the World Heritage Convention that Lake Malawi is bound to lose its source of cichlids.

“We are still saying no to oil exploration in our lake considering what might come next after exploring oil in the lake which include the loss of some species of fish in the lake and also contaminating the waters too,” said Mfiti.

The environmental activist presented his book to the gathering that included the Norwegian ambassador to Malawi, one of the key development partners of Malawi and the Finnish Honorary Consulate in Malawi.

Concurrently, Professor Sosten Chiotha of Lead and Professor Kenneth MacKaye of Heeed advised Malawi government to reverse its decision on exploring oil in the lake.

During the day on Monday, March 20, experts were joined by the Norwegian ambassador in cleaning the beaches of Cape Maclear and the underwater.

This was done through scuba diving by Cape Maclear eco lodge with the Malawi Defence Force leading the activities.

The cleaning exercise which started on Monday and is to come to an end today Tuesday, also involved government officials, local fishermen, lodge owners, tour guides, local business owners, students from surrounding primary schools and other villagers.