NEMA Executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut has warned all those that encroached on Lubigi Wetland to leave with immediate effect.
Addressing a press conference at NEMA Offices in Kampala, Dr. Okurut condemned the rate at which the wetland was occupied and degraded, citing that over 200 acres of the wetland was destroyed to pave way for subsistence agriculture.
NEMA ED Tom Okurut addressing media yesterday
“During this election season, a group of people unknown to even the locals invaded the wetland, set it on fire and having been changing the wetland into small scale farming and establishing settlements,” said Dr. Okurut. “This is illegal according to the law and all enchroachers must leave with immediate effect or they will be prosecuted in courts of law,” Dr. Okurut added.
The Lubigi – Mayanja wetland as locally known is a very important water catchment area, serving the city of Kampala and the surrounding areas of Wakiso District.
Rain water from the northern and western suburbs of the city drains, via underground aquifers and surface run-off, into the swamp, where it supports unique wildlife, including over 200 species of birds, one of which is the crested crane, the national bird. The predominant flora is papyrus grass.
The The National Environment (Wetlands, River Banks And Lake Shores Management) Regulations, 2000 institutes the protection of wetlands and stipulates that “special measures are essential for the protection of wetlands of international, national and local importance as ecological systems and habitat for fauna and flora species, and for cultural and aesthetic purposes, as well as for their hydrological functions.”