Namulanda Residents Petition Parliament Over Environmental Degradation

3574 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The petitioners are concerned that the existence of Lutembe Wetland is threatened by M/s Rosebud Flower Farm’s proposed expansion of its farm on Block 413, plot 4, situate at Namulanda village Wakiso district. Rosebud ltd is a company engaged in flower farming in Namulanda Ssisa-Katabi Sub County owned by Sudhir Ruparelia.

Over 200 residents of Namulanda and neighboring Lutembe Ramsey Wetland have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over environmental degradation of the Lutembe Ramsey Wetland.
 
The residents through their Local Council (LC) 5 Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika say that the wetland serves to protect the fragile ecosystem of Lake Victoria and the restricted access to the lake shore.
 
In addition, the petitioners are concerned that the existence of Lutembe Wetland is threatened by M/s Rosebud Flower Farm’s proposed expansion of its farm on Block 413, plot 4, situate at Namulanda village Wakiso district.
 
Rosebud ltd is a company engaged in flower farming in Namulanda Ssisa-Katabi Sub County owned by Sudhir Ruparelia who is allegedly dumping soil on over 200 acres of the wetland and in very close proximity off the shore of Lake Victoria.
 
The company was in 2004 issued a certificate of approval to carry out the expansion from NEMA but following an environmental impact assessment by the same; its approval of the extension was conditional.
 
The conditions therein were intended to mitigate and guard against the destruction of the environment and one of them being that the company undertakes periodic environmental audits within 12 months from the date of approval in accordance with Regulation 31 (2) of the National Environment Impact Assessment.
 
However, LC5 chairman Bwanika told the Speaker that since 2004 the company has never carried out any such audit and is continuously dumping soil on the wetland.
 
He also said that the company fenced off the entire wetland including the lake shore in total contravention of the guidelines given under National Environment Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lake Shore Management Regulations.
 
The residents asked Parliament to designate a committee to investigate the matter, to urge NEMA to cancel the certificate of approval pending fulfillment of conditions and to urge government to ensure protection of the water in Lake Victoria and all its aquatic life.
 
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Speaker Kadaga promised the residents that she will arrange for the petition to be presented but she expressed worry that Parliament is heading for the budget process and she cannot tell how fast it will be.
 
She advised residents to secure a court order to restrain the company from its work.
 
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Bwanika told the speaker that all agencies have apparently become agents of the company and that they now count on Parliament to pronounce its self and halt the exercise because the degradation magnitude is high.
 
The Area MP Joseph Balikuddembe noted that it is unfortunate that the degradation is going on but appealed to Rosebud Company to halt the process for the good of the environment and Lake Victoria.
 
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The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has a project that handles issues to do with the well being of Lake Victoria Basin and EALA MP Mukasa Mbidde said that the problem in Namulanda has not yet been brought to the attention of the Assembly but said that the Lake Victoria Basin Project is mandated to look into the environment of Lake Victoria.
 
Mbidde noted that once he gets the petition from residents he will further the matter to the assembly.
 
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Mentioned: nema