Agroup of environmentalists under the Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (BCF) is mooting for the enactment of punitive ordinances against actions that lead to wetlands destruction in the Masaka sub-region. 

Antonio Kalyango, the BCF Executive Director observes that many local governments are failing to customize and effectively enforce provisions of the National Environment Act 2019, hence the need to have more localized legislations that can save wetlands in their respective areas.

He indicates that they have considered combining efforts with other actors in the greater Masaka sub region, to push local government councils into enacting ordinances that promote sustainable utilization of wetlands, as well as giving deterrent punishments for degrades. 

Kalyango says they are giving priority to saving the urban wetlands within Masaka City, especially those that have a direct linkage to the ecosystem of Nabajuzi wetland, which has a status of a Ramsar site. 

Some of the endangered wetlands in Masaka city include; Nakayiba, Kamirampango, Kyakumpi, Kasooka and Kajjansembe, which are being encroached on for various human activities.  

In their approach, Kalyango explains that they are now working on a joint petition in which they are demanding local government councils to enact tough ordinances against destructive habits of cultivation, construction, irresponsible garbage disposal, and contamination of wetlands that are rampant in urban areas.  

Kalyango indicates that as a pilot, they want the local councils in the Masaka, Kyotera, and Lwengo districts to enact and enforce common ordinances on sustainable utilization of wetlands, which policy they will eventually promote in the other districts of the greater Masaka sub-region.  

However, Pauline Nabadda, the Masaka City Senior Natural Resources Officer observes that their ability to strictly enforce the law on environmental protection is currently constrained by the limited manpower and budget.

For instance, according to her, the City Environment Department has only two people who can hardly monitor all the wetlands in the area, something that gives degraders leeway to encroach and destroy the ecosystem.  

Nabadda has also asked the conservationists to consider engaging the lower-level local council leaders such that they can appreciate the significance of the wetlands, such that they can also start protecting them from any destruction.  

Rosette Nansubuga, the Acting Masaka City Deputy Mayor pledges that as leaders they are supportive of any efforts aimed at protecting the environment. 

She says that before they enact any new regulations, they are going to task local environment committees at parish levels to wake up and perform their responsibilities of safeguarding the wetlands from destruction.


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