NEMA intensifies evictions of encroachers for wetland conservation

NEMA intensifies evictions of encroachers for wetland conservation

Eviction of encroachers from Lubigi wetland

KAMPALA, Uganda | Xinhua | Uganda has intensified evictions of people encroaching on wetlands as the country strives to protect these specific ecosystems and reduce the effects of climate change.

William Lubulwa, senior public relations officer of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), a state-owned environmental watchdog, told Xinhua in an interview late Wednesday that the agency has started demolishing structures built in wetlands.

Lubulwa said a major operation took place Wednesday at Lubigi Wetland in the central Ugandan district of Wakiso. “We gave them notices for a month, and some people vacated the place, and others refused to go. And for those who refused to leave, the NEMA helped them remove their structures,” he said.

He said the NEMA will soon embark on restoring the wetland, which is critical to the ecosystem of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater body.

Joshua Karamagi, manager of the Environment Protection Force (EPF) at the NEMA, said the operation to stop people from encroaching on the wetlands is ongoing countrywide. “I urge all the wetland encroachers in Uganda to start vacating them before we reach their sites.”

The EPF, launched last week, will perform functions such as 24-hour environmental monitoring, and detection and investigation of environmental crimes.

Uganda’s wetland coverage has reduced to 8 percent from 13 percent of the country’s land surface, according to the Ministry of Water and Environment.

Conservation experts have said because of the depletion of wetlands, parts of the country are experiencing long dry spells, leading to the destruction of crops, and weather conditions are becoming more unpredictable, leading to loss of life and property. ■

The post NEMA intensifies evictions of encroachers for wetland conservation appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.