Fort Portal City authorities embark on conserving environment

FORT PORTAL-Authorities in Fort Portal City have embarked on plans of restoring all the depleted wetlands in the city that are currently under the threat of extinction.

The Fort Portal City Senior Planner, Samuel Musana said they are now working on a physical development plan that will guide in mitigating encroachment on wetlands.

“As the city, we have embarked on the preparation of a physical development plan which will help to guide us in the developments coming to the city, we have laws that we want to be implemented,” Musana said.

Musana said for any new structure to come up in the city, the developer will be required to get permission from the relevant city authorities.

During monitoring and supervision of the encroached wetlands, the city authorities led by the Resident City Commissioner [RCC], Angalia Godwin Kasigwa, and the city mayor, Edison Asaba Ruyonga, some illegal structures were demolished and other developments halted, with the owners made to record statements at police.

Kasigwa ordered the demolition of an illegal structure that was under construction near River Mpanga along Kijura road.

He said all illegal structures in the wetlands will be demolished and encroachers evicted to implement the presidential directive of conserving the environment.

“The president made a directive that whoever is going to make any development near a wetland, he/she should leave 100metres away or should have an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate from National Environment Management Authority [NEMA],” he said.

Kasigwa added that he led the demolition of this structure because it was illegal and more structures will be demolished to ensure there are no more illegal developments in wetlands,” he said.

He said all developments should be approved by the city council and an environmental impact assessment done.

The Kyenjojo NRM chairperson Sam Magezi who was found filling a wetland with Marrum near Kibogo road in Fort Portal city claimed to have an impact assessment certificate but was stopped by the RCC Kasigwa and told to record a statement.

Magezi was given up to Monday to produce the impact assessment certificate and approved plan for his development before his structures are demolished.

However, Magezi threatened the city officials, saying they have no right over his land after the RCC stopped further development on the site until he [Magezi] produces an EIA certificate.

The city mayor Ruyonga said despite the many warnings to developers to acquire EIA from NEMA before developing in wetlands, many kept a deaf ear and continued with developments.

He said degrading the environment has impacted much on climate change which is affecting the country and there is an urgent need to take action.

Among the encroached areas are the river banks of River Mpanga which passes in the middle of the town, River Mugunu, Nyakimya swamp, Fort Portal forest reserve, Kitembe, Buhwaiga wetland among others.


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