George Odeke, a resident of Kokong Village in Kapir Sub County discovered the tunnels while digging a pit latrine in his home about three weeks ago. The existence of the mysterious tunnels was exposed through social media on Sunday evening.
The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire led Commission today interfaced with Dr. Tom Okurut, the Executive Director of the National Environment Management Authority NEMA following a whistle blower report to the Commission on the issuance of land titles in the two wetlands contrary to the law.
Environmentalists in Fort Portal are up in arms with the China Railway Seventh Group, a company which was contracted to construct the Fort Portal-Kamwenge road for tampering with the flow of River Mpanga. Huge stones have been poured in a section of the river in Fort Portal, next to Fort Portal Regional Referral hospital, to change its original flow.
In its report, the Committee notes that the companies were illegally mining sand in the wetland, which stretches between Mpigi and Kalungu districts in violation of their permits, leading to gross degradation of the environment around Lake Victoria.
Drake Lubega, who owns Tesco Industries Limited, appeared before the Natural Resources committee today to respond to investigations by the MPs that his company has been illegally mining sand in Lwera wetland in Mpigi district.
Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director NEMA admits that several companies have blatantly refused to comply with guidelines on their permits. He says the lack of adequate staff to monitor these activities has hampered their operations.
Plastic carrier bags are still in circulation despite a government ban on their importation and usage more than two months ago. A Uganda Radio Network reporter visited several places in and around Kampala where the kaveera was widely in use in supermarkets and retail shops.
The money was donated after a petition, by the LC 3 Chairperson Sebastian Ssebaggala, for financial support towards the development of sporting grounds. Upon receipt, Ssebaggala and Town Clerk Irene Nakamatte purchased 3.5 acres of land in Kikoma zone, with a down payment of Shs 40 million.
The Plant was among the sites funded by the World Bank and the National Environment Management Authority to process garbage into fertilizers under the Clean Development Mechanism. At the height of its operations, the facility produced up to 7 tons of manure every day.
Meager funds are allocated to the natural resources departments which are in-charge of forests, wetlands and rivers among others. The department also faces a problem of under-staffing. As a result, some of the environmental laws remain on paper and have never been enforced.
The project had been stopped by the National Environment Management Authority [NEMA] on account that its activities would deplete the environment. According to NEMA, much of the proposed project area is a catchment hub for water that flows into Lake Victoria.
According to the bylaw, any body found degrading the environment is supposed to pay a fine of 200,000 shillings or a jail time of three months on conviction or both. However the bylaw has never been implemented, which has resulted to increased encroachment on natural resources like wetlands and forest reserves among others.