KALUNGU - Christine Akello, the deputy executive director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), has expressed concern over majority of the population’s reluctance to conserve the environment.
Commenting on the ongoing environmental degradation countrywide, Akello said Ugandans are not well-versed with conservation regulations, making it difficult to control degradation.
“Everything to be successful requires environment officers to use force. People know the dangers of destroying the environment, but still go ahead and do it.”
Ugandans continue reclaiming wetlands and cutting down forests, among others.
Due to continued environmental degradation, climate change effects, like drought, floods, among others have been persistent in Uganda.
She said NEMA calls for citizens to be compliant, if the regulations are to be successfully implemented.
“We are facing problems with kavera because people refused to follow our recommendations. We cannot always be using force, people need to comply.”
Akello made the remarks during a tour of the Lwera wetland in Kalungu district which has been extensively degraded by sand miners.
During the visit, Sarah Naigaga, the NEMA legal officer challenged the sand miners to comply with environmental regulations for sustainable development.
“We cannot say we are going to stop mining sand completely, but miners should do it with caution and restore the degraded areas,” Naigaga said.
Currently, sand mining in Lwera has been temporarily halted following a directive by the Minister of Water and Environment banning all mining activities in Lwera.
According to Jerome Lugumira, the Natural Resource officer manager at NEMA, for mining activities to resume, companies have to restore the wetlands by covering the pits they dug.
He said all the pits that have been dug in the wetland should be covered to enable the area to regenerate.
“Only soil from the wetland should be used. This will enable vegetation to regenerate and conserve it.”
However, out of 13 companies that are permitted to mine sand in Lwera only one has started restoring its mining site.