23 octobre, 2008

The environmental problems in Angola. Case study- Cabinda

Classé dans : Politique — cabinda @ 10:55
Cabinda is one province of the Angola and it is very rich of natural resources as petrolium, diamend, fores,..etc.But now Cabinda lives in critical environmental situation because of these goods.

Cabinda is very small country in the world but is blessed with abundant natural wealth including petroleum, diamonds, Rubin, emerald, metal and non-metal, forestland, woodlands, agriculture lands, wildlife and fishing resources and is destined to become one of Africa’s richest nations. The country is located between Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa and in south separated from Angola by river Congo. The enclave of the Cabinda has a population of approximately 1.600.000 million people and a territory as approximately 13,000 square km; land 11.000square km, water is 3.000 square km- -land area of Cabinda which, is slightly less than twice that of Gambia. [6,7]

The territory of the Cabinda was annexed to Angola in 1956 by colonial regime of Portugal. Although it gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 Angola was left open for internal conflict and international manipulation. Angola was finally emerged from more than two decades of civil war, which finished in 2002. [7]
The level of destruction can clearly be seen by the 22.6% decrease in GDP and the 11-fold decrease in the countries currency (Kwanza) in 1991-1995. In addition to the deterioration of the basic infrastructure the reduction of health services have left Angola with poor water and sewage systems which in turn have led to a huge increase in endemic disease and thus Angola is left with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, 209/1000 live births.

Landmines cost as little as $1,2 to manufacture and are classified into two different groups, large tank mines and antipersonnel mines but it is few problem in comparison with the Angola, where the cost landmines is $6 to manufacture and has same classification. The major problem is deforestation, which is going very rapidly by legal and illegal exploration of oil and gas; diamond and metal; wood and fuelwood- -charcoal industries. [5,7]

Abstract – The harvesting of wood for use as fuel also has contributed to the problem of desertification. Desertification is the term used to describe the loss of soil fertility and structure to the extent that its ability to support plant life is severely compromised. In Angola, where desertification has its greatest impact, forest areas are often cleared in order to harvest fuelwood, (illegal charcoal) and for agricultural use. Traditional farming practices, which tend to be inefficient and land-intensive, significantly degrade scarce arable land — the single most important natural resource in Angola. Desertification can lead to downstream flooding, reduced water quality and sedimentation in rivers and lakes. It also can lead to dust storms, air pollution and health problems such as respiratory illnesses and allergies in other hand is exploration of the oil and gas.

Keyword: Exploration of the forest, gas and oil; government policy.

Environmental in Cabinda
The environment in Cabinda is serious critical problem, which central Government and the powerful Party MPLA do not paying any attention, it is a fact. I believe my paper can call attention of World organizations; consequently the intervention of them will be a unique way to put point final in this critical situation of Cabinda. I would like to focus on the principal causes which, provoke the environmental damage in Cabinda:
· The impact of oil exploration and production by Chevron & Texaco and Sonangol companies,
· The policy of Central Government (MPLA),
· Legal and illegal exploration of the forest by population and government.

Impact of Oil Exploration and Production by Chevron & Texaco and Sonangol.
Oil pollution is a big problem and too important subject to be worthy attention, study and discussion in Assembly Parliament of the Angola and by international organizations such as OON, NGO, FAO, and World Banks, G8, SADC, etc. In Angola where the principal source of revenue is oil, debate on the impacts of oil exploration and development on the environment and the health of the community occur frequently between government, local citizens, environmental groups and oil companies. Many believe that the presence of oil refineries, wells and transportation activities in their countries is positive, giving them the opportunity to increase and diversify their trade relationships with other nations and to participate in the global economy.

Environmental problems associated with oil-related activities are numerous. For example, constant spill of petroleum in the sea and burn of gas by company Chevron and Texaco in Cabinda; shipping ports, where the transshipment of oil takes place, the chronic release of oil into the water through ship leakage, ship maintenance or mishandling is a continuing dilemma. The impact of burning gas causes air pollution. Also during the process of exploration and production of oil and gas takes place land pollution.
Oil exploration has caused massive environmental problems off the coast where much of the drilling happens. Aquatic habitats have been lost and air pollution is high. A constant oil spills off the coast of Cabinda have cause a great decrease in the fish population impacting the local fishermen. Before and to 1999, a spill at the Malongo terminal caused reduction of fish stocks, and one time compensation of US$2,000 by Chevron does not cover the damage done to the area; in 2000 twice, 2001-2006 and 2007 spilled 3.9 barrels of oil at sea. [3,4,7,8]

The policy of central Government (MPLA)
The role of the central and local government of the Angola relative to Cabinda is poor and super negative, even though Angola is multiparty country, but the power is centralized, the President has too much power and that government doesn’t want change the work policy, law of protection forests and woodlands; ecosystem, biodiversity (flower and fauna). Without the vision in ecological, environment social, economic factors, which are the principal way to define the forest and woodland strategy- -the nature especially forest is continuing to be constant violated. The central Government often ignores this problem, despite the fact that it’s cumulative effects may have significant effects on the surrounding ecosystem. Natural habitats, such as seabed’s, wetlands and mud lands, which are increasingly, recognized as fundamental elements of a country’s natural environment and economic resource base are often located near or in maritime port locations. As world oil demand increases every day, this is a positive for economic of the Angola but negative for population and nature. The environmental safety law is weak and still it benefits maneuver the central Government to rule the country without transparency, etc- – there is major risk for forest and biodiversity. The Ministry of Fishing and Environment administered by Dr. Fatima Jardim has no power to solve problems and appeal sanctions to the constant spill of petroleum into the sea and forest of Cabinda. Everything is depending for lack of reading and of the good will and dynamic of the President of the Republic.
During a mission to Cabinda in August 2004, Human Rights Watch found that although the human rights situation in Cabinda had improved since mid-2003 due to a decrease in military operations, the FAA continued to commit violations against civilians with almost complete impunity. The pressure by the Central Government against the population of the Cabinda is very high.
Human Rights Watch had documented the constant focus violations of human rights abuses against civilians in the past and present year, including extra judicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other mistreatment, sexual violence, dismiss, and the denial of civilians’ freedom of movement. Human Rights Watch was too found little evidence of recent abuses committed by FLEC factions against civilians, probably because of FLEC’s weakened capacity. » [7,6,3]

For stance:
· Dismiss of the priests Casmiro Congo, Raul Taty, J. Prito and others (Member of Human Right Association of Cabinda),
· Dismiss of the Engineer Agronomy « Agostinho Chicaia » from position of chief of Environmental department in Cabinda, member of the Human Right Association of Cabinda and the President of civic organization of the Mpalabanda.
· Arbitrary arrest of the journalist and activist « Raul Danda » in Cabinda,
· Arbitrary arrest of the British citizen Dr. Sarah Wyke, the member of World Human Right Organization.
Note: There are many reasons, which provoke the conflict in enclave of the Cabinda and all those are summarized in exploration of the wealth and result the population live very poor, without the right for speech.

Legal and illegal exploration of the forest by population and government
The Forest (TREES) – plays an important role in the local people lives as it provides a much-needed source of income and also in the cultures of the people. Trees often have spiritual and social value deeper than the simple economic value. The Douka trees that the Cabindans rely so heavily upon have been suffering from the ravages of war. They used to export the trees to Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands etc, which fetch anywhere from $100 to nearly $2000 per cubic meter as a main generator of income, or simply used the trees for their own private use. Most of the trees are illegal hutting.

The centralization of government, but more importantly the completely lack of governmental laws and regulations, as well as the rampant use of the town by insurrectionists crossing in from the Congo-Kinshasa have stripped bare the trees from Cabinda and have further impoverished the environment of Cabinda and Cubans soldier in period of Unique Party MPLA as contribute so many in destruction of the forest of Cabinda. Commercial forestry and mining have also hurt the trees as many of the forests were old and were not replaced after being demolished. Chevron Oil Corporation has also scoured the region in search for trees for its oil exploration interests in Cabinda, which provides nearly 70% of the oil revenue for Angola. Its vast holdings have served only to hasten the degradation of many local environments. Land pollution, Massive deforestation, and industrial pollution. Poverty leads to overgrazing of arable land making agriculture production disastrous.

Toxic chemicals are constant times used in the extraction of minerals, such as gold, which end up in the rivers, result as toxins bioaccumulation in fish and wildlife, which are sources of food for the same communities and include deforestation, soil erosions, silting of rivers, landslides and mining accidents. It is estimated that the rate of occurrence of fatal accidents in small mining activities is six times higher than it is in larger operations. The other problem with illegal exploration of diamond is almost same as the goal. For example as provinces as Lunda Nort and sul; Bie, Malanje have also critical environmental problems. There are so many holes in the land provoked by legal or illegal exploration of metal, no metal, and precious stone (diamond, Rubin, emerald). [1] Many of these activities are based on natural resources and include carpentry and craft production, charcoal manufacturing, collection and trade of non-timber forest products, artisan mining and metal works. Although entry into many such activities is easy, their profitability and efficiency is undercut by bureaucratic controls, lack of investment and inadequate support for market engagement. There is little incentive for users to invest in technologies and to manage resources sustainably.
Artisan mining has been a major source of income, increasing the wealth of rural populations. This new income supports investments in agriculture and nonagricultural pursuits, and thus increases the options available to rural communities. Inadequate regulation and enforcement in the artisan-mining sector has, however, led to serious environmental problems and risk to humans.

Fuelwood and Charcoal Availability
Fuelwood resource
Angola has a forest cover of more than 80% of its landscape and in gross terms. The annual production of fuel quality biomass substantially exceeds demand. However, woodfuel demand is national, particularly in the urban centers.
In the urban and rural sectors of the economy is still and without of any profit by the business fuelwood, in all 18 provinces in the cities and sub-cities, dominates the household energy market and hence with higher efficiency of conversion from wood to charcoal. I mean the demand for fuelwood and Charcoal (Firewood) is increasing rapidly by two main reasons: the Government has no any capacity, plan and interest to supply gas, oil and electricity to the population and the gradual growth of the population. The increase of the demand is especially high at the expense of the Zambezian and Congo basins. The result of the analyze of the non-governmental organization (Human Right Association) shows that during the period of 1978-1995 a biomass fuel estimated at 70 – 80% of final consumption, of which was 5% of charcoal for the urban household market, and 61% for the rural consumption market. Although the population was decreased that period, the need for woodfuel in the household market was increasing rapidly in the absence of other sources of household energy supply such as kerosene, cooking gas and electricity, etc. It also has consequences on the costs attached to these commodities thus putting aggregate consumption at 94% in the household energy sector.

Charcoal production 1986 – 2002
The role of government in charcoal production and supply is Zero, but it is in support of the private sector by providing incentives to use the most economic woodfuel resources and to upgrade the efficiency of conversion methods from wood to charcoal as it is practiced in the almost world countries.
Firewood and charcoal production and supply are generally managed by a large number of Cabinda-Angola smallholders and entrepreneurs. The industries in this field act without necessary juridical certificate process (document), the constraints of traditional technology and poor transport infrastructure; the market is supplied adequately and efficiently. [3,10] The provision and supply of these commodities have become a major industry and commercial activities in all parts of the country. Besides accommodating household energy needs, about 47 percent of former industrial workers, a lot of unemployed, rural people and ex-militaries (soldiers of the MPLA, UNITA and some the FLEC) now have engaged in charcoal production and trade as this business is one of the main survival in the private sector. The big problem, there is not project, structure, study, control and data The production of charcoal has economic costs attached despite the use of earthen kilns by char coalers in all localities. The costs of producing coal from the all kind of the trees natural and plantation forest are summarized in figure1. While the financial incentives about how many people, what kind of the trees, the quantity of the trees and in which areas are cutting every day for that business.
Recent estimates of charcoal product are about 10 – 15%, between 1986 – 2002 due to inaccessibility of the tropical rain forest and about 5 – 8% plantation forest to char-coalers, during the civil war. After the national conflict (war), this kind of industry began to grow very fast and government continues lose a good profit in this business.

For charcoal producers favor the carbonization of forest wood with returns to labor of about $250 /day as compared with $175/day for char coalers producing from hardwood of tree. But the aggregate income incentives to hardwood coal maker is marginally higher than the cost of producing charcoal from forest wood for the following reasons:
· Hardwood charcoal is plentiful in the market than the charcoal made out of the rainforest,
· The mass production is due to nearness to main all weathers roads as compared to forest roads that are inaccessible at certain time of the year, and
· The cost by distance to transport hardwood tree coal is very shorter than forest tree coal. Yet, the forest tree charcoal is favor because of its more heating capacity, which means, less coal can prepare better meal as compared to a hardwood–tree coal, which is quick in transforming to ashes during cooking.

At national level, it has been estimated and proven that whatsoever is carbonated is likely consumed (see graphic 1) by the household market. Nevertheless, the largest consuming center cities have been supplied by demand of urban communities. Counties respectively (see graphic1) due to the level of its demanding capacity, and the economic interest char coalers attached to the sale of the commodity. Though 68% of the territory was in critical period of war, between 1983 and 1997, the production and supply of charcoal were considered affected (decrease) and demand continue increased in some big cities and in 2000 to 2006 peace period the production, supply and demand begin increase rapid. In this business are not exported and import of the coal, but in colonial period it was doing by Portuguese.

Conclusion and recommendation
The almost all-illegal or legal exploration of forest is carried without the professional specialist in the Science of the forest and environment. At this moment In Angola no sufficient professional specialist, also the salary is very low, specialists have no work conditions as transport for research, fuel for transport. All these problems cause escape of specialist. But within that the exploration of the oil-gas is carried by good professional specialists (Americans, French’s, Canadians, Angolans, etc), subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to international demand for tropical timber and for domestic use as fuel. This has resulted in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution; situation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water. About this and others, which provoke political, social, economic and armed conflict in Cabinda is possible to resolve or minimized.
This is not war against the Government of the Angola, but this is the legal way to be call attention the central government and world.
a) I would like to recommend the central Government of the Angola to take American, Canadian or Chinese Management System (where, every province has to find their own way to develop according their natural resource and pay few percent of their income to the Central Government); it will be resolve many problems, which provoke conflict in the country.

There is a need of good strategy:
· Angola to Cabinda need Marshal plan/project ==New governmental Policy (politic and socio-economic) and transparency system in all structure of the country (economic, politic, military, control and tax inspector, supervisor and anticorruption faith).

b) Desertification stems from complex socio-economic-environmental problems requiring integrated multi-disciplinary approaches and action programmers to solve them. A number of common constraints inhibit effective remedial action is priority attention in the course of determining practical physical means to combat desertification. [6] For stance:
· Lack of econometric models to analyze the efficiency of alternative production systems;
· Insufficient knowledge of economic gains, direct benefits and costs, opportunity costs and externalities;
· Under-exploitation, in many instances, of cash economies in rural communities;
· Insufficient knowledge of marketing opportunities that are external to rural communities;
· Lack of institutional arrangements by which production systems, and particularly agro-forestry systems, can be planned, financed and administered;
· Insufficient or partially complete planning;
· Informing decision-makers and others that in many instances, long periods of protection are needed for noticeable yields and desired results; this is especially the case with agro-forestry systems;
· Communication and attitudes between technical administrators and rural people; legal conflicts, including land tenure;
· Education and training, which too often is patterned on « information center of data ».

author: Jose Tomas        e-mail: arvel5tomas2yahoo.com.br


1. Figure 1. Consumption household (charcoal industry)

From: 1978 -supply 7% –demand 20%
1983 -supply 5% –demand 25%
1990 -supply 3% –demand 26,5%
1995 -supply 6% –demand 25%
2000 -supply 10% –demand 27%
2003 -supply 20% –demand 30%
2005 -supply 25% –demand 28%

Source: PhD student JAS Tomas 2006 in Angola

2 – Figure 2 environment provoked by industries in Angola
Note: Companies, which provoke environment in Cabinda enclave:
· Exploration of oil and gas by Chevron & Texaco and Sonangola 60%
· Transport 13%,
· Forest, charcoal 14%
· Agriculture 10% and
· Other 3%

Source: PhD student JAS Tomas 2005
1- African Timber Organization. 1996/98. Information Bulletin nº 3, 4,6. Libreville.
2- Angola, « Microsoft(R) Encarta (R) 97 Encyclopedia. (R) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
3- AngoNoticia – Sep 2005. M.A – Sector forestal preocupado com o aumento producao anarquia de carvao (News-journal of the Angola)
4- AngoPress -2007 .02, Chevron & Texaco confirma outro derrame de 3.9 barris de petroleo no mar de Cabinda. (News-journal of the Angola)
5- Anuário Africa Hoje. 1998. Um olhar sobre a economia do Continente Africano. Lisboa. 144 p.
6- Fao Rome 1993/4. Role of forestry in combating desertification
7- Hacktivismo -20006.12, Human Right watch report on Angola.
8- Ibinda.com 1998/99 derrame de petroleo no mar de Cabinda, porta voz dos direito humanos. (News -journal of the Cabinda)
9- LuandaDigital.com -2005-10. Costa de Cabinda regista novas derramas de petroleo. (News-journal of the Angola)
10- Piearce, G. D. and Gumbo, D. J. 1993. The Ecology and Management of Indigenous Forests in Southern Africa. Zimbabwe Forestry Commission SAREC. Harare.

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