The project for the construction of a $450 million soda-ash factory on a site about 50kms north of Lake Natron has been held up for almost five years because of opposition from environmentalists but it is now reported that the government seems determined to proceed. Environmentalists have been insisting that the factory could wipe out the only remaining breeding areas of the Lesser Flamingo and other rare flora and fauna. Available data indicates that from 1.5 to 2.5 million Lesser Flamingos from Djibouti down through Tanzania to Malawi were hatched in Lake Natron.
The Ministry Trade and Industry states that soda ash has the characteristic of multiplying at 4 million cubic litres per year meaning that its cubic reserves keep growing. President Kikwete has been quoted as saying: “What matters is the application of environmentally friendly technology to avoid disrupting the breeding grounds.”