Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 | By
Following the rise in water levels that have left many displaced in Uganda, Mr. Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE is appealing to people residing and working close to environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas to vacate voluntarily.
While speaking to Community Green radio early this month, Mr. Muramuzi said continued human activity along ecologically sensitive areas does not only pose danger to the environment but to human life as well.
“I appeal to the community to promote, protect the environment and leave the wetlands willingly before the presidential directive in regard to these areas is forcefully implemented,’’ cautioned Mr. Muramuzi.
Mr. Muramuzi also took a swipe at big business people, locally referred as investors for continuously reclaiming swamps and wetlands for development. He explained that these business people get approval from government agencies like the National Environmental Management Authority, NEMA to operate in wetlands and swamps.
“NEMA has issued licences to investors who are carrying out developments in wetlands and swamps. We call on government to desist from sanctioning such developments in environmentally sensitive area,’’ he said.
Mr. Muramuzi also noted that the construction of dams on major water bodies have become a threat to the flow of water; a reason NAPE strongly opposes the construction of dams.
Mr. Muramuzi believes the rising water levels currently experienced are as a result of degradation and encroachment of wetlands and forests for cultivation.
This year, Ugandan minister of state for Energy and Mineral Development Mary Gorreti Kitutu warned that the residents around Lake Kyoga would be affected since Karuma dam was releasing 950 cubic meters per second and the entire water was going to the lake.
Water levels for major water bodies across Uganda have gone up in recent months from 12.00 meters in 2019 to above 13.4 meters, in the case of Lake Victoria, a mark last recorded in 1964, while Lake Kyoga is projected to exceed the highest historical water level of 13.2 meters.
This has led to submerging shorelines, swamps and flood plains, displacing thousands of people and flooding infrastructure.
More than 9, 000 people have been displaced by the rising water levels of Lake Kyoga in Nakasongola district,central Uganda. Others have been displaced in Masaka, Buvuma, Mayuge, Jinja and Wakiso districts by the surge of water volume in Lake Victoria. People in Ntoroko District in Western Uganda have also been displaced by increased water volumes in Lake Albert.