Breaking

Masaka Activists Warn of Increased Wetland Encroachment Under Lockdown

Top story
Antonio Kalyango, the Executive Director of ASDI, says encroachers have taken advantage of the laxity in enforcing environmental protection laws during the lockdown, to take over protected areas in parts of Masaka, Lwengo, Rakai, Kyotera and Kalungu district.
08 Jun 2020 10:10
Antonio Kalyango, the Executive Director for ASDI. Phot by Davis Buyondo

Audio 3

There is uncontrolled encroachment on wetlands in Greater Masaka Region because of the ongoing lockdown, a survey by Action for Sustainable Development Initiative-ASDI has revealed. 

Antonio Kalyango, the Executive Director of ASDI, says encroachers have taken advantage of the laxity in enforcing environmental protection laws during the lockdown, to take over protected areas in  parts of Masaka, Lwengo, Rakai, Kyotera and Kalungu district.

Kalyango faults the government for failing to take the necessary steps to safeguard wetlands that have been encroached on by various individuals and companies. Kalyango says serious interventions are needed to save the country from a more serious catastrophe.

//Cue in; ‘Kili ku kawefube…

Cue out…bwa gov’t webuli.’//      

Several forests and wetlands have been cleared for farming in Kyesiiga Sub-county in Masaka district. Shaban Ssebbowa, the Malembo Landing site Chairperson, says over 20 acres of the natural forest was cut last year by a local businessman to start a pineapple growing project.     

He says the businessman was protected by area politicians in the guise of creating jobs. Ssebbowa appeals to residents to desist from encroaching wetlands for economic activities, saying they are vital for human survival and should be protected by all means.       

//Cue in; ‘Without environment…      

Cue out…what it is speaking."//      

Wilson Kutamba, another environmentalist attributes the increasing wetland encroachment to poor facilitation of district environment departments, which affects their operations.        

//Cue in; ‘We actually did...

Cue out...every day.’//       

Godfrey Muteeba, the Lwengo District Environment Officer notes Mbiriizi and Kyazanga wetlands were cleared for farming. He attributes the encroachment to lack of adequate facilitation for their monitoring activities and political interference.