By The Observer
Environment Shield, a civic organisation, has petitioned the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) calling for the prosecution of the proprietors of Mandela Millers and Busega taxi offices for encroaching on the Busega wetland.
Through its CEO, Eron Kiiza, the organisation said the constitution of Uganda and the National Environment Management Act oblige everyone to create, respect, and protect the right to a clean and healthy environment.
“In pursuit of our constitutional, legal, and environmental obligations, we report to you the ongoing environmental attacks in Busega and Kampala. The attacks on wetlands have persisted for years with impunity, but for the sake of the environment, they must stop,” he said.
Busega wetland serves as a water catchment area, serving areas of Busega and Nateete, a Kampala city suburb. Recently, President Museveni said the issues of the environment— forests, lake shores, hilltops, etc.—are crucial for our survival. We need water and clean air. Both of them come from wetlands and forests.
“You cannot say that you are a patriot of Uganda when you damage our wetlands, forests, river banks, lake shores, and steep gradients on which our livelihood depends. Even food is possible because of air, water, etc. I will launch a mega campaign to get rid of this parasitism,” he said.
Speaking during Manifesto Week at the president’s office on Monday, Dr Barirega Akankwasah, the executive director of Nema, said there is a need to do more to suppress development in sensitive ecological systems, which is why, effective September 2, 2021, they suspended any further approval of developments of wetlands.
“You must have seen several operations going on, such as in Lubigi wetlands, and we are going to continue countrywide, funds permitting.” You must have seen operations going on, such as in Lubigi wetlands, and we are going to continue countrywide, funds permitting,” he said.
Tony Acidra, the communication manager at Nema, said Mandela Millers is operating legally. The company was granted an
environmental impact assessment certificate.
“What we are going to do is conduct an audit to establish whether they are complying with the approved procedures of operation. In case they are not compliant, there are punitive measures that ought to be taken, which include cancelling their certificate, compelling them to pay a fine, and others,” he said.
On the other hand, Acidri said the taxi park is operating illegally and that Nema is working with the local leadership to have it shifted to another place.
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