Environmentalists in Ntungamo District are concerned over the continued encroachment on wetlands by developers in Ntungamo Municipality.
The Municipality is surrounded by wetlands which drain into Lake Victoria and River Kagera. They include the wetlands of Nyabihoko, Kamira, Kyangara, Kakingora-Rufuha, Charubuta -Kashojwa, Chamwasha, Kabobo - Riero – Bizi and Kacwamba – Kakitumba.
However, many of these have been severely depleted due to human activity. The most affected is Kakingora-Rufuha wetland. The wetland is the source of river Rufuha, a tributary of Rwizi River that drains into Lake Victoria.
Ntungamo Municipality Natural Resources Officer Felix Turyajunwa says that the rate at which the wetlands are destroyed is alarming. Turyajunwa warns of a looming catastrophe in the area as a result of the environmental degradation.
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Edward Natamba, the executive director of South Western Institute for Policy and Advocacy says that government needs to take stringent measures to save the wetlands from further destruction. He says ongoing construction works are a threat to the catchment areas.
Alex Tukamushaba, one of the residents, demands that all developments on wetlands be suspended with immediate effect as a way of reducing the pressure on wetlands.
But Sheik Swaleh Kashagire, one of the people clearing part of Rufuha wetland told Uganda Radio Network that he has good development plans for the area. He says he is venturing into fish farming, which according to him, is as important to the community as conservation is.