Trans-national projects of the magnitude of the Chad-Cameroon oil and pipeline project must always have some negative effects on the quality and quantity of the environment. Following an environmental impact assessment (EIA) a series of mitigation measures must be put in place to minimize the intensity of the negative effects of the project on the environment. The paper seeks to assess the impact of the construction of the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline on the biophysical environment and to appraise the mitigation measures adopted. It uses a combination of primary and secondary data sources to collect information on 3 towns and 10 villages in the Kribi region based on 10 impact variables. The data so obtained were analysed using appropriate quantitative techniques. The results of the analysis show that most of the biophysical impact variables had negative effects on the environment. The paper summarizes the environmental impact analysis by grouping the impacts into high, medium and low categories. The project has high negative impacts on wildlife habitats and the loss of biodiversity, medium impact on erosion on excavated areas and low impact on deep land cuts, oil spills from the pipeline, atmospheric pollution, damage to the marine environment and solid waste disposal. The paper attributes this to the mitigation measures adopted by the project. The paper emphasizes the need for a review of various environmental commitments made by the various parties to the project and to appraise their implementation. A proper balance between the benefits expected from such projects and the environmental costs can only be obtained through impact studies and careful monitoring. Lessons are drawn that can aid the sustainability of such projects.
Key words: Environmental impact, biophysical environment, impact variables, environmental costs, environmental impact assessment, monitoring, Kribi region, Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline.
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