Will Soda Ash Plant Have Us Saying "Ta-Ta" to Flamingos?

Tanzania's pristine Lake Natron is the only nesting site in East Africa for the lesser flamingo, a species considered "near threatened" by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. An amazing 75% of breeding lesser flamingos come to Lake Natron every year, making it one of the most vital sites for this well-known species, as well as an important tourism destination.

But conservationists fear that plans to build a large soda ash plant on the banks of Lake Natron could drive the flamingos away from one of its last five breeding sites, and possibly put the species at a much greater risk of extinction.

Soda ash (or sodium carbonate) is used in a huge variety of chemical processes. It's essential in glass-making, metal processing, textiles, photography, and other industries. It even makes Raman noodles possible. Lake Natron is a particularly appealing site for soda ash production because of its high concentration of sodium carbonate.

India's Tata Chemicals is one of the world's largest producers of soda ash. They not only want to build a large factory on Lake Natron, but also, shockingly, they plan to "introduce a hybrid shrimp to the lake to increase the salinity of the water," according to reports. (And we all know how well introducing alien species into an ecosystem tends to work.)

Tata's local subsidiary, Lake Natron Resources Limited, is planning to release "part of" its environmental report on the project to the public today.

Tata's calls itself "The company that cares." It even has a lofty mission statement: "Enrich the quality of life by offering products and services that meet the essential needs of people." I don't notice anything about the needs of animals, birds or nature in that statement.


Dear sir,

This company will preserve the site along with the production of soda ash. TCL is involved in many such activities like " shark " , T-sunami & earth quaick relifes etc. It has proven track record on environment front. As employ of the company i am very sure that TCL will not harm anybody.