The planned closure of factories that flout environmental laws in Jinja district has failed four years after they were condemned by the National Environment Management Authority - NEMA.
The factories are Skyfat, MMI Steel Integrated Steel Mills, Uganda Leather Tanning Industry, PAPCO Industries Limited, Buwembe distillers, Marine and Agro, Gomba Fishing Industry.
The factories are accused of constructing permanent structures in wetlands and polluting the environment with industrial waste.
Collins Oloya, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Environment says demarcating the environmental buffer zone and wetlands with mark stones is underway along Lake Victoria Shores in Kirinya, Bugembe, Walukuba and Masese areas. He says the exercise had partly delayed the action against factories flouting environmental laws.
Oloya says all factories will be subjected to environment impact assessment before closure.
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Ernest Nabihamba, the Jinja district Environment Officer says the factories have utilized more than 25% of wetlands in Jinja and this has an effect on humans, aquatic life and the environment. He adds that the waste from factories has also polluted the air around Bugembe, Masese, Kakira, Walukuba and Jinja municipality.
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Section 12 of the waste Management regulations by NEMA stipulates that an industry shall not discharge or dispose of waste in any state into the environment, unless the waste has been treated in a treatment facility and in a manner approved in consultation with the Authority.
It further states that a person operating a factory, who discharges or disposes of any waste, whether treated or not, into a disposal site or plant which is not approved or licensed commits an offence.
It sets a penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than thirty six months or to a fine of not less than three hundred and sixty thousand shillings and not more than thirty six million shillings or both upon conviction of any who commits an offence under the Regulations.
In 2009 NEMA said the affected factories had no option but to comply because they were given ample time to improve their waste disposal system but did nothing thereafter.
David Igaga, the manager Buwembe Distillers is also accusing some of the implicated industries of disposing off waste near his factory.
But Jain Narendra, the chief Executive Officer MMI Integrated Steel Mills says the waste IS disposed off after treatment and as such may not be hazardous like stated. He adds that the environment laws are also being followed in the disposal.