Impact of the new Nicaragua canal on Panama
New Nicaragua Canal Project
Technology has become part and parcel of the modern day world. One thing that comes out very clearly is the fact that when people are able to incorporate various expertise in the field of engineering, information technology, business and other relevant fields. If at all individuals, private firms, public sectors, and governments have to complete a big project, the same aspects mentioned above must be taken into consideration. One such example of a project is the Nicaragua canal. The Nicaraguan project will be one of the biggest endeavors of civil engineering that has ever been embarked on anyplace in the world, with the authorization from the Nicaraguan government. It is a scheduled shipping route through Nicaragua that will join the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. Its scheduled to begin at the end of 2015 and end in 2020-2021.it will averagely cost over 40 billion dollars, but it might cost double the amount. It will bring about massive changes in the economic structure of Nicaragua, and this is if it’s done right and to completion since Nicaragua is ranked among the poorest in Latin America. The present destructive nationwide and regional-driven tendencies of impoverishment environmental destruction will also have major changes effected due to the constructions. In the case of poor execution of the constructions, there will be damage to the ecosystem of Nicaragua and investors will lose billions overall.
The best example to compare with would be the Panama Canal, which was a well-executed canal construction, and it’s the best reference project that Nicaragua can compare with because of the similarities they share regarding proximity and same climatic conditions, natural habitations and the social settings of the Panama region (Bennett 15). This project was a success in the sense that it was able to be completed within the allocated time frame, and quality work was also done.
The impact of this construction will be a bigger and global significance but despite the humongous scales of this project, the people of Nicaragua are stating complains that they have not been provided with the crucial information like the foreseen impacts on the environment.
We shall look into various impacts that will be brought about by the execution of this project.
The construction of the canal brings about great hope for the poor economic state of Nicaragua. Scholars have already estimated that the project will be the long awaited driving force that will uplift Nicaragua from poverty since it’s the second poorest in the whole of Latin America. Studies reveal that most of the population’s income is less than a dollar in many households. Thus, we can say that many are beyond the poverty line.
The economy will experience major increase in state returns, directly and indirectly, thus the balance of payments will have an overall positive change in the long-term. Specialists estimate an overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of eleven percent and over four hundred thousand people will be upgraded from poverty since there will be an increase in employment opportunities by triple as more jobs will be created during and after the construction of the canal (Canal 96). This will eventually double the state economy from its current state.
The local workers will experience an increase in income as they will attain new skills and experience and the government will gain more revenues because of increased economic production, trade multiplicity, and markets that are engaged with the expenditure of the projects and jobs (Hook 90).
There is a great probable risk that the Nicaragua lake which occupies 3100 square miles and thus without a doubt the largest lake in Central America will be adversely affected because its engineers have said that the canal route will pass through the lake, and they will dig deep corridors for the canal (Claybourn 31). Environmental is a crucial aspect of the day to day life in that if ecological balance is not maintained there are some of the inhabitants would lose their life because of luck of sustainability.
There will be both positive and negative effects of the canal construction, but overall the positive effects will win over the negatives.
The current environmental degradation will be reversed as the canal will categorically capture it, and this will lead to water preservation and forest conservation.
Complete primary and secondary rain forests will be lost.
The Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea will have increased sediment loads.
Invasive species will be brought into the Gorda river system and the Rio Panta.
The endangered sea turtles will suffer as their nesting, and immigration habitat will be lost.
The ecologically assorted Rio Panta will be converted from a naturally spontaneous flowing river into a series of canals, reservoirs, and locks.
There will be loss of those that are amongst the ruthlessly, disparagingly endangered species.
Creation of the canal as a barrier to prevent movement of animals and gene flow will cause isolation of populations as a result of the fragmentation of the biological corridor.
During the constructions, there will be economic and physical displacement of an estimated 27000 people.
The physical division of Nicaragua into the northern and southern sections of the canal will result in reduced access and connectivity.
The Rama community that still speaks the native language will be displaced.
The infrastructure of the new canal, from pipelines to power plants to roads will affect a great part of the rain forest and the wetlands.
Water pollution to the Lake Nicaragua, which is a source of drinking water to the people, caused by chemicals from the industries and ship traffic.
It will lead to flooding, mudslides that would eventually rupture locks and households and the power lines would be flooded.
Overall experts and scientists are concerned because of the massive effects on the environment that will be caused by the project. The ESIA report that was conducted shows its findings that state there will be positive environmental and social impacts on Nicaragua. The University of Miami also stated that the Nicaragua project will be a mega mistake if it lacked proper scientific basis (Davis 23). They say that incomplete data was given regarding the quality of the water, the flow and the currents of the surrounding areas of the Lake Nicaragua in which the canal will cross.
The Nicaraguan government risks the repeat of the violent situations in the areas whose people suffered the fighting years of the eighties and are still healing from the wounds.
The armed forces will be forced to use extreme measures to evict the people who reluctantly refuse to leave their lands especially the peasant farmers to foreign organizations.
They should put Into consideration the risk of rising internationally organized crimes and risks to their security and the high cost it will have on government revenue in order to set up measures to curb criminal acts.
The government will be required to have the necessary resources to replace the loss of infrastructure along the route canal.
The municipal governments will have to cater for the costs of reduced state revenue whose source was taxes and incomes from farmers and producers.
The mayor’s office should have the resources and know-how on they will continue to access the population and provide amenities to them as a result of the divide that will come about from the construction of the canals.
Some of the people obtained their lands from historic wars and thus they have a great importance to them so the government must support the involuntary appropriation of peasants and the ethnic communities.
The Nicaraguan government has a duty to protect the interests of the people.
Adverse reactions from the people might greatly affect the current reigning Nicaraguan leader, Ortega, who is being accused of giving up the sovereignty of Nicaragua because the canal concession will give the Chinese company, HKND, control over majority of strips of the country. Many people from both sections of the political divide have started protesting in the past weeks as they continue to demand for Ortega to resign and the Chinese to be expelled (Dixon 40). They vow that they are willing to fight for their land.
The socialaspect of life makes a very important aspect of life in the sense that it becomes very easy for people to interact well, communicate and exist peacefully with each other. In each and every project, similar to Nicaragua canal, it is of great importance to consider the social effect of any project to the society. The benefits are outweighed by the risks. The canal and its sub projects will lead to job creation, and Nicaragua will be raised from poverty. The education sector will also expand as many universities are coming up with courses and programs that are related to the project such as engineering, political science programs just to state a few.
The expropriation of a huge amount of land and this will force the natives off the land and the displacement of a huge number of people. Provisions must be executed for the numerous, large scale, human inhabitants’ migrations.
Here will be a need to provide a humanitarian strategy that will respond to the people who will be displaced by the canal project.
More than half of the canal will divide through the communal indigenous and Afro- descendant territories. The laws of Nicaragua prohibit lease or sale or seizure of the community’s indigenous land. A comprehensive socioeconomic impact valuation and the full agreement of the people must be acquired in advance of any actions that move these people. There is potential risk to the nation, and at least two factors pose threats that the government has publicly addressed. The large shipping center can become a venue for organized criminal activities.it will provide a good passage for narcotics, arms and the precursor chemicals that are used for narcotic productions. Terrorists are known to not only to pose threats and attacks to their enemies but also to the economic aids of the ones that provide services to their rivals and this will place Nicaragua and the canal at a risk for activities of the terrorists (Grant 56). The government must establish local security systems and equipment to preserve the national security.
Enoch Rodriguez is a fisherman and a representative of the local Catholic Church in the small town of Boca de Brito, in Nicaragua. It’s a small community along the Pacific coast. As a member of the Catholic church in the area, he expresses how the locals are worried about the potential impacts on their culture and social stand. They say that the construction of the 172-mile long canal poses major uncertainties because the concrete information people need is hard to come by, and the proper authorities are doing nothing about it.
The people have no issues with the project if it can be assured that after completion more benefits will be reaped rather than losses (Hook 78). People will be displaced and communities divided and thus loss of cultural beliefs and sites and traditional practices. Culture is the heart and soul of a community and migrations always lead to intermarriages and the birth of new intermingled tribes.
The constructions of the sub-projects attached to the canal have already initiated, and this is without the self-regulating assessments of environmental, economic and social impacts. Nicaragua is severely at risk of facing environmental and social damage that at the end cannot be easily salvaged because of not observing the international best practices. Critics maintain that awareness among the communities remains very low, and yet the project is aimed at benefitting the people. A call has been made to avoid at all costs the new forms of unjust growth shown by the geopolitical and the selfish corporate interests. The critics have major doubts about the project because of lack of transparency. They are concerned because the state is working towards advancing the very projects it was fighting against in the 1980s period. Ortega led the guerillas who in 1979 were against Anastasio Somoza the dictator yet at the present day; he is in support of the same project, and this is pure hypocrisy. The government’s social credentials are being stressed by the endorsed propaganda; President Daniel Ortega is being highly criticized by his main opponents because of his pro-capitalist nature.
All in all most of the people view the project as a job opportunity because of the levels of poverty and also most of them are illiterate and lack any skills and this will be their once in a lifetime chance at getting a decent source of income and a chance at improving the livelihoods of their families and becoming financially independent.
The government will also benefit from increased revenues and expansion of its diplomatic relations, and if successful to completion, the project will lead to increased service, manufacturing industries and benefit of inflow of foreign currencies from the exports and imports.
Despite the doubts and criticisms, we can confidently say that the benefits of the Nicaragua canal will outweigh the negatives and as the Panama has set a pace for a good successful project, with the similarities the two possess, this will be an undeniable success.,
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