Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mbarara City has embarked on a campaign to restore over 4000 hectares of destroyed wetlands. The restoration campaign aligns with the Presidential directive to evict all wetland encroachers.
David Sancho, the City Natural Resource Officer said that the city had lost over 4,000 hectares of wetland to encroachers who have destroyed them by backfilling them with soil, planting eucalyptus trees, constructing buildings, and digging trenches that drain water from the wetlands.
He said that the most affected wetland of Rucece covers over 1,500 hectares in three wards of Mbarara City North Division and has been infringed on by people who claim to have land titles and are threatening to sue the government.
The Mbarara City North Division Environment officer Edgar Nabaasa said they are to embark on forceful eviction of encroachers noting that they have done sensitizations and issued eviction notices to people.
He said that during the sensitizations they agreed with the encroachers to harvest their crops and be willing to cut down the trees planted.
Nabaasa said that they have set up village wetland protection committees that will be tasked with monitoring and assisting in enforcement.
He said that they are failing full restoration of wetlands because they are faced with the challenge of a lack of provision of alternative sources of livelihood for people who are evicted and those that willing to agree to move out of wetlands.
Sancho decried the lack of adequate funds to fight encroachers, do the restorations, and provide alternative livelihood sources noting that all the activities need over 100 Million shillings.
Robert Kanusu the Deputy Resident City Commissioner of Mbarara City North Division said that the government will continue to evict encroachers and guide people on the importance of wetlands.
Mbarara City has wetlands that include Rucece, Koramorya, and Nyakisharara that cover 5,000 hectares.
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