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Gov’t bans rice growing in wetlands

Rice growing in Lwera wetland. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has with immediate effect banned the growing of rice and other crops in wetlands across the country.

In a resolution passed by Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni, and communicated on Tuesday by the Minister of State for Environment Beatrice Anywar, the government says this is done to restore the environment that has been affected by these activities.

The pronouncement comes at a time when many wetlands such as that of Lwera on the Masaka-Mbarara highway has been reclaimed to grow rice. Some of the people involved in rice growing include people who have big connections to senior government officials.

It’s also not yet clear how this ban is going to be enforced going by the amount of money so far invested and the people it is going to affect. When asked whether they are going to compensate those who will be affected by this ban, Anywar said it is such people to compensate the government for the destruction.

Anwyar said that working with the Ministry of Lands, they are going to cancel all land titles of wetlands, lakes and riverbanks, forests and other protected areas and also prosecute those who issued them. She called upon people who have encroached on protected areas to vacate them peacefully before government evicts them.

Meanwhile, the government has also with immediate effect banned the production, importation and use of polythene bags commonly known as kaveera of any kind. Anywar said although there has already been a ban on buveera below 30mircron, this had not stopped their usage and production, this time around they are going to be very serious in enforcing the ban.

The government declared a decade of environmental restoration, calling upon all Ugandans to participate as the impact of degradation affects everybody.

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