Prensa Latina: Concessionaire of Nicaragua Canal is Committed to the Environment
Managua, April 21 (PL) The Chinese company HKND Group, the concessionaire of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal project, nowadays is focused not only on minimizing the future impact of the work on the environment, but also on solving accumulated problems in this area.
This was stated by the Chief Project Advisor of the company, Bill Wild, in a conversation with Prensa Latina, ensuring that the first priority is to protect Lake Cocibolca or Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America, where part of the canal route will cross.
According to the concessionaire, the waterway -which will connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans- will be 276 kilometers long, 105 of which will pass through that freshwater body.
Secondly, the expert said, we are focused on safeguarding the environment of the wetlands and mangroves in Brito, located in the southwest of the country, where one of the ports of this mega-project will be built and where located the entrance of the waterway in the Pacific Ocean.
Wild also mentioned the wetlands of San Miguelito, the palm forest located on the Caribbean coast and the management of the watersheds and river resources among the most important issues.
As an evidence of the importance given by HKND to the environmental issue, the expert mentioned examples of adjustments to the canal route, such as those aimed at avoiding mangrove areas and areas of high cultural and archaeological sensitivity.
Also on the Caribbean side, the route was moved to avoid the palm forest and preserve the lower reaches of Punta Gorda River, added the advisor who also reiterated HKND´s commitment to the protection of the Indio Maiz Reserve and to a canal design that is able to minimize the impact on the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
The aim of the company is not only to minimize the potential damages, Wild said when emphasizing that building the project is the only way to solve the environmental degradation undergone by Nicaragua.
Without the canal, all forests in the south of the country will disappear, including Indio Maiz Reserve and undoubtedly, Lake Nicaragua will deteriorate to an irremediable condition, he said.
In this sense, the Chinese concessionaire will drive a massive reforestation plan, which initially intends to plant half a million trees, and as the initiative progresses, that figure would amount to several million per year.
Regarding the selection of species, the expert drew attention to two considerations: one related to the ecological issue and aiming at restoring high density forests, and another one aiming at make use of the timber.
Wild highlighted the fact that, according to the company's estimates, the construction of the mega-project will reduce annual carbon emissions from world maritime trade by 32.5 million tons due to the larger size of vessels that will be able to pass through it, which consume less fuel.
These savings are also influenced by the location of the waterway compared to the Panama Canal, which would greatly contribute to the reduction of distances between Asia and North America, Europe and the east coast of Latin America.
Experts predict that the work, with a total cost valued at 50 billion dollars, will double the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nicaragua and generate about 250,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.
The benefits of the project, which include the construction of an airport, several roads, a free trade zone, several tourist resorts and two ports, would also have an impact in Latin America region.