By Spy Uganda
Kampala: National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has ordered city businessman Robert Kiwanuka to demolish apartment buildings he was building in Kimbeja Wetlands, Kirundambaata, Kira Division in Wakiso District. NEMA also ordered to stop all construction plans on the same henceforth.
A restoration order is a curative tool of environment management that instructs a person who has caused environmental damage to restore the damaged area to the position it was before the damage occurred.
”NEMA has issued a restoration order to Robert Kiwanuka, who had illegally reclaimed part of the wetland along the Naalya-Kimbejja road in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district,” reads a statement issued by NEMA.
Last week, the mighty Spy Uganda reported on the encroachment of this wetland, which was being replaced with spacious rental apartments.
Our discoveries prompted NEMA to take an environmental inspection to ascertain the status of wetlands in the Kampala Metropolitan Area which found that Kiwanuka had commenced construction of storied structures in part of Nsooba wetland system that drains the suburbs of Naalya, Najeera, Kira, Namugongo and Kyaliwajjala.
Kiwanuka had fenced off the area without approval from NEMA and drainage channels had been dug to divert water. Unencumbered dumping of stones, gravel, murram and soil were taking place at the site. ”These actions are detrimental to wetland systems and the environment,” NEMA warns.
It is against that background that Kiwanuka has been directed to immediately vacate the wetland and stop any further dumping of foreign material in the wetland. He has also been instructed to demolish all illegal structures that had been erected and dispose of any resulting debris in a manner that will not threaten the environment. Further, Mr. Kiwanuka has also been tasked to restore the degraded part of the wetland to its original state.
“Wetlands are an important part of our ecosystem because they are a habitat for some species, perform hydrological functions such as regulation of water quality, reduce downstream soil erosion and aid in flood control by storing excess water during heavy rains. Despite these important ecological functions, wetlands have been targeted for settlement, agriculture and other developments,” says NEMA.
“In order to reduce pressure on them and to enable Government build capacity to regulate developments in wetlands; NEMA has indefinitely suspended the receipt, issuance and consideration for all projects within wetlands. The public is further urged to report any activity taking place in wetlands to NEMA or the nearest police station,” the environmental body adds.
NEMA is a semi-autonomous institution of the Government that coordinates, monitors, regulates and supervises environmental management in the country. NEMA spearheads the development of environmental policies, laws, regulations and standards, and guides Government to make sound environmental management decisions.