RESIDENTS and leaders in Kalangala district have asked the Government to close some NGOs in Ssese islands and arrest government officials for their role in the abuse of the environment.
In a half-day workshop organised by Kalangala district NGO forum at Kakaâ€™s hall on Wednesday, participants attributed the increasing environmental degradation on government officials and non-government organisations.
â€œAll dealers in illegal fishing are big government officials. No poor man can afford an illegal fish net. It is the fisheries officers and members of the beach management units (BMU) who deal in illegal fishing,â€ the chairperson of Bumangi landing site environment committee, Matthias Kamya, told the organisers of the workshop.
â€œThis is the reason why immature fish is taken to Kampala and Congo on tracks. Do you expect a poor fisherman to own or hire such trucks?â€ Kamya asked.
Deo Miiro, another participant, said it was useless for the Government through the National Forestry Authority to advise the public to plant trees in Kalangala when it was the same government that allowed investors to take forests on the land.
â€œWhich assurance do you give us that this time the trees we plant will not be cut down and replaced by palm trees?â€ Miiro asked.
The National Forest Authority manager in Kalangala, Dennis Sebuggwawo, told the gathering that there was an opportunity for individuals to reap from the sow log scheme, where those who plant 25 hectares of trees are paid heavily by an international NGO.
â€œThis scheme has been around for some time and we encourage people to plant more trees. It is, however, surprising that nobody from Kalangala district has benefited from this scheme,â€ Sebuggwawo said.
He was attacked even before he could sit down when participants wondered where NFA expected them to get such big land when it had all been given to palm oil growing company Bidco.
Miiro blamed the organisers of such forums for not inviting government officials but inviting people, who may not have the capacity to stop encroachment on the environment.
Kalangala wants civil servants arrested