NEMA warns on increasing water levels of Lake Victoria

By Moses Kidandi
The Government has warned members of the public living around lake shores of signs indicating drastic rise of water levels of lake Victoria.

According to the Executive director of the National Environment management Authority NEMA, Tom Okurut the levels will rise by 4 meters in 2021, NEMA is therefore sensitizing all landing sites across the country and surrounding villages living closer to the lake to adjust to the growing conditions .

Tom Okurut made the remarks as NEMA embarked on a demarcation exercise of lake shores in Mayuge district to pave way for resettlement of 48 villages that were displaced by the National Forestry Authority NFA from the South Basoga central forest Reserve in 1998.

NEMA is demarcating 200 meters off the lake shore for conservation as the Government plans to gazette part of the forest reserve to settle affected locals from the 48 villages .

The resettlement is President Musevenis order directing NFA to hand over five hundred Hectares which is part of the Bukaleeba Forest Reserve to over thirty thousand families that had been evicted.

Naome Karenkaho the manager public and corporate affairs at NEMA is advising people living in the fishing villages in Mayuge to shift from the low lying areas near the lake to avoid a possible catastrophe.

NEMA bans the public use of Karuma hard core

By Moses Kindadi

National Environment management Authority has banned Chinese contractors Sino Hydro from giving away the high quality rock that was extracted under ground as they constructed bunkers and other facilities at Karuma .

Several Ugandans have requested  to take up the high value rock known as muck for personal use.

How ever NEMAs Senior Environment officer  Akelo Gonasa says the rock is now a government resource which can be used for other government projects in future like the railway line and oil pipeline,she says they are strictly supervising the contractor to ensure that they comply with the set environment standards at the site.

The rock is now dumped in Murchison falls National park.

NEMA has now ordered the contractor Sino Hydro to cover the rock so as to reclaim the natural environment inside the park


NEMA admits they are still many illegal sand miners

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has admitted that several companies are mining sand around Lake Victoria illegally.

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.



NEMA impounds over 18000 kgs of Polythene

The National Environment Management Authority -NEMA has started the process of safely disposing off over 18,000 kilograms polythene bags impounded in recent operations.

Epsilon Uganda Limited, a local waste management company is handling the incineration process conducted in Zirobwe, Nakasongola district. The exercise, expected to last one week, starts today.

This follows a directive banning the use, sale and distribution of polyethylene material below 30 microns as one of the mechanisms to protect the environment against degradation.

NEMA led an operation from April 2015 to confiscate polyethylene material and bags from traders who had initially defied the ban. The operation targeted industries, supermarkets, shopping malls and street traders across the country.

State Minister for environment Flavia Munaaba says that the company is using a new technology that incinerates the polyethylene at high temperature in order to limit any possible danger to the environment. She says the incineration will be done in sequences following the size of career bags recovered.

She was addressing a press conference at the media centre in Kampala.

Munaaba equally appealed to the general public to embrace use of alternative bags instead of the polythene bags stating that it is for the protection of the environment.

She also warned factories against engaging in more production and trade polyethylene bags commonly referred to as Kaveera and advised them to engage in the production of other plastics that are not prohibited.

NEMA records indicate that up to 39,000 tons of polythene-related waste is dumped in the environment yearly in the country and yet most of them take years to decompose.

However, Even with the ban, many retail shops still have polythene bags and are profiting from them.

Aidah Nakabugo, a shop attendant states that no better option has been identified by the Government or NEMA on the materials.  She states that although paper bags work, they have not provided the much needed alternative.






A temporary injunction against NEMA

Factories producing Polythene bags commonly known as Kaveera have again petitioned the high court this time seeking a permanent injunction against the National Environment Management authority from closing down their factories.


High court registrar Alex   Ajiiji last month issued a temporary injunction against NEMA from closing the factories and impounding the polythene bags but the injunction expired on the 9th of February 2016.


Now the factories through their umbrella body Uganda Plastic Manufacturers and Recyclers Association are accusing NEMA of ambushing them in their factories in Kampala, Mukono, Jinja and Mbale and other parts of Uganda without first investigating whether their products do not fall in the exempted category of plastics.