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Expedite bill on wetland conservation, environmentalists urge gov’t


Environmentalists have urged government to expedite the enactment of the Wetland, Conservation and Management Bill that will help deal with wetland encroachers.

“”We urge government specifically cabinet to  expedite the movement of the wetland preservation and management bill such that it can be pushed to Parliament. It is not  enough that the bill is actually pushed to Parliament. It’s also very important that there is  with consultation with  communities and all key stakeholders such that private sector, businesses, academia can have  input in the bill ,” Hellen Kasujja, the Deputy Executive Director of Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) said on Monday.

She was speaking during the World Environment Day commemoration at Kiswa Primary School in Nakawa Division.

Kasujja said the enactment of the bill will help conserve wetlands through wading off of encroachers.

“As stakeholders, we must come together to conserve the environment by among others protecting wetlands which are crucial filters for our health, water, soil, and ecosystem. Wetlands must be protected jealously, as they provide essential services.”

Nakawa East Member of Parliament, Ronald Balimwezo , however took a swipe at the Lands Ministry for issuing titles to investors in wetlands .

“We are fortunate to have wetlands on the periphery of Lake Victoria, but the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, has issued titles to investors, leading to development that hinders water filtration into the lake. As a result, Lake Victoria is now contaminated with heavy metals, garbage, and maggots, forcing National Water and Sewerage Corporation to spend heavily on treatment. This burden is passed down to our people, making water unaffordable,” Balimwezo said.

He insisted that it is high time this state of affairs is stopped or else the entire country will be affected.

“We are feeling the effects of environmental degradation, evident in the heat we are experiencing today. As Parliament, we will push for the environmental conservation bill to curb ecosystem degradation. If we don’t act now, our wetland cover will dwindle from 15.5% in 1994 to a mere 1.26% by 2014. I appreciate the efforts of our partners and actors in addressing this issue.”

Hazrah Okema, the Country Representative for Seniors Without Borders there is need to adapt  in the face of climate change.

“We have shifted our focus from mitigation to adaptation, recognizing that climate change is here to stay. Our efforts now concentrate on adapting to the new reality. One of our strategies is investing in young children, integrating climate change education into their learning to equip them with the skills to adapt and innovate in response to climate change. We believe that by empowering the next generation, we can build a more resilient future for all,” Okema said.

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