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UGX 350m Laroo Division Wetland Beautification Project Stalls

During the financial year 2018/2019, the Division Council resolved to reclaim the swampland and build a recreation center by clearing the site to plant grass and ecologically friendly trees for shade and build two monumental fish ponds.
Moses Abonga, the LC 3 Chairperson of Laroo Division showing URN the space earmarked for beautification in Gulu Municipality - Photo by Dominic Ochola

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A plan by Laroo Division authorities to beautify at least more than two acres of wetland along Pece stream in Gulu Municipality has stalled.

During the financial year 2018/2019, the Division Council resolved to reclaim the swampland and build a recreation centre by clearing the site to plant grass and ecologically friendly trees for shade and build two monumental fish ponds. 

But Moses Abonga, the LC 3 Chairperson of Laroo Division revealed that after securing 350 million shillings under Northern Uganda Social Action Fund – NUSAF III, they were stopped by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). 

//Cue in; “We thought of…

Cue out…stopped the project.”// 

Abonga explained that the development of the leisure ground was to establish a public resting space and expand the division’s tax base but NEMA stalled the plan over unclear reasons citing the project did not take into consideration of Environmental Impact Assessment - EIA.   

//Cue in; “We would have…

Cue out…affect the wetland.”//

  

However, it is not clear if the authorities complied with the requirements of EIA which ensures that the potential problems are foreseen and addressed at an early stage in project planning and design to ensure environmental safety and sustainable socio-economic development.

When contacted, Tony Achidria, the NEMA Public Relations Officer said he needed more time to contact the authority’s northern regional office based in Lira Municipality to understand the cracks of the matter.   

Recently, Division Chairpersons of Laroo, Pece, Bardege and Layibi in Gulu Municipality called NEMA to undertake an urgent demarcation of the existing wetlands to curtail the rampant encroachment of wetlands that has continued to threaten the aquatic life and ecosystems.  

NEMA is a semi-autonomous institution, established in May 1995 as the principal agency in Uganda, charged with the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising environmental management in the country.