Environmental Impact Assessment on Chikwawa Road in Malawi

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  • Topic: Construction, Environmental impact assessment, Infrastructure
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  • Published : June 15, 2010
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This document serves as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed road to Fatima in Chikwawa district. The project runs from Thabwa (near Shire River) to Fatima. The road has a lot of bridges and culverts since it is near the Shire River.

The project proponent is Chikwawa Town Assembly with Asian Grant Aid estimated at US$ 7Million. The total length of the road is about 22 Km and is a dusty road. There are 25 bridges and culverts that are estimated to be built along this road.


The proposed scope of the project is construction of tarmac road since currently the road is a dusty one and also construction of bridges, construction of drainage system (culverts) along the roads, installation of twenty five bus lay byes, pedestrian walkway and cycle track, kerb stones, road markings, street lights, pedestrian crossings and signals at school, hospital and shopping centres.


The EIA study was commissioned to determine the potential impacts (both negative and positive) on the environment that could arise from the proposed project in Chikwawa. To accomplish this task, the EIA team was guided by the Terms of References (TORs) drawn by the Environmental Affairs Department (EAD). For thorough exploration of the TORs and addressing the identified impacts, the team used several approaches such as site visits, observations, literature review, professional judgment, discussions, with the authorities.


1.0Background Information

Chikwawa is one of the 28 Districts in Malawi located in the Southern Region of Malawi. It is one of the border districts sharing the country's international boundary with Mozambique to the West and district boundaries with Mwanza to the North, Thyolo to the East, Blantyre to North East and Nsanje to the South. Its main topographic features are the flat basin of Shire River and the Thyolo-Chikwawa Escarpment.

Since Malawi became independence in 1964 there has been no tarmac road for people staying around this road and as such there has been a problem of transportation where people have to walk more that 12km in order to get transport to travel say in town, Blantyre, or connect to another district. There is a mission town at Fatima where there is a catholic mission school, hospital, and a church. Sick persons are carried in wheel barrows in order to gat them to this mission hospital. It takes a number of years for this road to be gravelled which makes it difficult to access the road. This will be the main road which will connect Chikwawa district to Thyolo district where there is another SDA mission hospital, and school.

1.1Screening Criteria

The proposed project falls within the category A4 (Infrastructure Projects) list of prescribed projects for which an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is mandatory in the EIA guidelines since it involves construction of a road. Section A4.5 states that “Construction of new highways and feeder roads or expansion of existing highways and feeder roads” shall require EIA study.


For thorough exploration of Terms of References (TORs) and addressing of the identified impacts, the EIA team used several approaches such as site visits observation, literature review, professional judgement, discussions with the relevant authorities. These tools were used to obtain data for compilation of this report. Considerable time was spent on stakeholder consultations.

1.3Aim and Objectives of the study

The aim of the study is to highlight potential negative impacts and suggest a appropriate environmental management plan for the construction of Fatima road. Key specific objectives for the assessment are:

a. To describe in general, the major components of Fatima road construction. b. To review environmental policies, regulatory and...
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