Leaders from Bukedi sub region have resolved to embrace their roles in management of wetlands, noise pollution, waste and fragile ecosystem.
They also resolved to supported the total ban of polyethane bags (kaveras), develop project proposals for fundraising programs to support environmental management, mainstream environmental concerns into sector plans and budget and to liaise with Police to designate officers to handle environmental matters.
This was arrived at during a consultative meeting attended LC5 chairpersons, chief administrative officers, natural resource officers, resident district commissioners and members of natural resources committees from the six districts of Tororo, Butaleja, Busia, Kibuku, Budaka and a Pallisa at Tororo district chambers on Friday organized by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
The main objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on the roles and responsibilities of environmental management institutions in sound environment management with focus on the presidential manifesto and directives on environment and natural resources management in Uganda.
The executive director of NEMA Dr. Tom Okurut appealed to the district leaders to take special interest in land boards by insisting to have some of the technical officers to guide in their meetings and decision making to avoid litigation.
Okurut said out of the gross mistakes made by land boards, government is going to cancel 732 land titles that have been allocated to developers in wetlands.
He said the land titles in contest were issued to developers in various part of the country with a majority of them in Kampala and Wakiso.
The meeting observed that the environmental challenges in Bukedi include sand mining, rice farming, land fragmentation and greed as well as community destruction of wetland buffer zones.
Tororo resident district commissioner Martin Orochi called upon NEMA to make their presence visible and felt across the country since they play a critical role in the future of Ugandans.
The Pallisa district LC5 chairperson John Michael Okurut asked the authority to take a step to reproduce a map of all gazetted wetlands that can help guide local governments in championing conservation and preservation of the wetlands.
He faulted government for failing to take action on the culprits particularly government officials who are involved in the mess.
“NEMA should stop the discriminative approaches of issuing licenses, when foreign investors apply to use a wetlands its sustainable development and when locals use its degradation’’ Okurut said.
Butaleja district chairman Richard Waya appealed to NEMA to take up with engineers whom he blamed for rapid degradation of wetlands since they are the ones responsible for roads and structural constructions in the wetlands.
He called on the leaders to embrace the issue of tree planting as business and make it compulsory for every school to have food and forest gardens.