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Kwania Leaders Concerned over Encroachment of Wetlands

LAbout 539.3 hectares of the total 1,012 hectares of wetland in Kwania is already encroached on by residents. The leaders are also accusing LCI Chairpersons of frustrating efforts in the fight against encroachment on wetlands.
Kwania District Environmental Officer, Jimmy Okweny speaking to residents during monitering of wetland area on Wednesday (Photo by Solomon Okabo)

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Leaders in Kwania have expressed concern over the massive encroachment on wetlands.

According to records from the district environment office, the wetlands have reduced from 40 per cent to 20 per cent due to activities such as rice growing and the establishment of settlements.

About 539.3 hectares of the total 1,012 hectares of wetland in Kwania is already encroached on by residents. The leaders are also accusing LCI Chairpersons of frustrating efforts in the fight against encroachment on wetlands.

Jimmy Okweny, the Kwania District Environment Officer, says that they have deliberately failed to heed directives and constructed residential houses and business premises in the wetlands.

He said the affected wetlands include Acungi wetland in Abongomola, Gweri swamp in Aduku Sub County, and Arocha swamp in Aduku Town Council among others.

However, Afyai Silvanus, the Regional Wetland Coordinator in charge of Northern Uganda, says that each time staff carry out an operation against illegal encroachment on wetland, they are frustrated by the leaders and residents.

In a recent sensitization meeting at Alany cell in Aduku Town Council Kwania district, Afyai accused some local leaders he didn’t name of conniving with residents to occupy wetlands.

  //Cue in: “Pen cik kong …

Cue out: … oti iyore aber.”//

Afayi, also an environmental specialist, asked residents to embrace tomatoes, and onion growing along with the wetland areas instead of cultivating rice.

   //Cue in: “Ka ingio ipapara …

Cue out: … cani mede ameda.”//

William Okello, a resident, attributed the encroachment to a lack of boundaries.

Muhimda Mubarak, the Environment Police Officer in charge of Northern Uganda said cultivation of wetlands is only allowed if one has the user permit issued by Natural Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

He asked residents to desist from planting trees in wetland areas, warning them to take drastic actions on illegal encroachers to conserve the environment.

//Cue in: “Yes farming is …

Cue out: … not tampered with.”//