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.
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
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.