By Weswa Ronnie, ELGON FM/NECJOGHA
Mbale, Uganda – The Ministry of Water and Environment is planning to survey all wetlands in Mbale district to stop them from being encroached on.
In an exclusive interview with our reporter, Paulo Mafabi the national coordinator of natural wetland management says people are currently currying out illegal activities like brick making and farming on the wetlands.
He said the wetlands they are going to survey in Mbale include Manafwa in Busiu sub county; Namatala in Namabasa sub County and Nagerima in Nakoloke sub County.
Charles Wakube the Mbale district environmental officer adds that they are going to start with Nagerima wet land before the end of next month and that they are going to first sensitise the local leaders and owners of the land where those wetlands before they begin surveying.
The resident district commissioner of Mbale, Ogajjo Baraza urged locals to embrace the program confirming that they will still remain with land ownership.
“The purpose of the survey exercise is to identify the number of wetlands and regulate illegal uses which may lead them to disappearing yet they help to cool the environment, filtering water and are home to wildlife.
Baraza said that after the survey, the land owners will be advised to use their wet lands for legal activities like constructing fish ponds for fishing rather than growing crops like rice and sugar canes which degrade the wetlands.
According to statistics from Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) 2015 wetland cover data set, currently the wetlands coverage is at 8.9% intact and 4.1% degraded and 2.6% completely lost. During the FY2017/18, MWE demarcated 283.7km of critical wetlands, and restored 487 hectares (ha) of degraded wetlands.