NEMA On The Spot Over Illegal Sand Mining Activities In Wetland
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is on the spot over its failure to monitor illegal sand mining activities in Lwera wetland on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Parliament’s committee on Natural Resources has accused the environmental watchdog body of failure to monitor sand mining activities in Lwera wetland, which stretches between Mpigi and Kalungu districts. The committee further cites wetlands in Katabi and Mayuge districts that have fallen prey to the illegal sand miners.
While addressing the media at Parliament on October 19, 2016, Alex Byarugaba, the committee chairman and Isingiro South MP, explained that several companies, including those owned by Chinese investors, have invaded the wetlands under the guise of setting up cage fish farming projects.
Noting that most of the investors were given fish farming permits by NEMA, the watchdog body should have monitored the projects however it failed to do so, endangering the protected wetland buffer zones.
He says top officials from NEMA, including the Executive Director, Tom Okurut will be summoned before the committee to give their defence.
The MPs further halted a number of companies from carrying out the illegal sand mining activities. Some of the companies pinned during the committee site visits are Tesco Industries Limited, Zhong Industries Limited, Capital Estates Limited, Sim Construction Limited and Lukaya Sand Dealers.
Byarugaba said the companies must stop the activities while the committee conducts its investigations into their activities.
The committee conducted site visits to the areas where sand pits were excavated by the companies and established that they were not licensed to carry out the activities.
This prompted investigations, with the companies summoned to the committee to explain themselves.
The committee will meet Tesco Industries, Sim Construction and Lukaya Sand Miners on October 20th 2016 over the same matter.