Officials from the environmental watch body told MPs on the Natural Resources committee today that a study done in October 2015 indicated that the said companies were illegally mining sand and have degraded areas surrounding the lake in Mpigi and Kalungu districts.
Some of the companies named include Lukaya Sand Dealers Company, owned by Sun Xianzhong and Zheng Junqing, Chinese nationals, whose permit was cancelled for non-compliance in October 2015.
In October and November 2015, NEMA also cancelled the permits of Tesco Industries Limited, owned by businessman Drake Lubega; Aqua World Limited and Sim Construction Limited owned by Pastor Samuel Kakande; Capital Estates owned by John Ssebalamu; He Sha Duo Company Limited and Zhong Industries.
Dr. Jerome Sebadduka from NEMA says there have been several enforcement operations in Lwera wetland, which has prompted many of the companies to comply eventually.
Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director NEMA admits that several companies have blatantly failed to comply with guidelines on their permits. He says the lack of adequate staff to monitor these activities has hampered their operations.
However, legislators, including Syda Bbumba and Alex Byarugaba, accused NEMA of laxity in its watchdog role on protection of wetlands in the country.
Okurut, in response, shifted blame on the local governments which are mandated to monitor any activities in wetlands.
NEMA says plans are underway to draft guidelines to regulate sand mining activities in wetlands.