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Masaka district tightens sand mining regulations

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Masaka district has instituted new measures against sand mining in an attempt to save wetlands. The decision was reached in a district council meeting chaired by the Speaker, Achilles Mawanda.

The council resolved that all companies and individual miners first get a clearance from the National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA and an Environment Impact Assessment report before they are allowed to mine sand.

Masaka District LC V Chairperson, Jude Mbabali, says the district will also issue the miners licenses to avoid illegal miners. Mbabali says the sand miners will pay some fee to district coffers.

Mbabali says ta big number of sand miners in the district are mining sand in a very destructive manner because due to lack of regulations leaving huge gullies, which is dangerous to the environment.

Florence Namayanja, the Bukoto East Member of Parliament and Shadow Environment Minister, has welcomed the decision to regulate sand mining in the district.

John Mukasa, a sand miner at Kyabakuza village in Kimanya Kyabakuza division in Masaka municipality, says the regulations are targeting small miners who use hand hoes and spades leaving out the big miners.

He says it’s unfortunate that companies and individuals that use sophisticated technology such as tractors and excavators, which are more destructive are left untouched.

Rose Nakyejwe, the Masaka District Environment Officer, says if the current rate of sand mining is not checked, shallow wells, boreholes and other water sources in the district are at risk of drying because of a drop of the water table where sand mining takes place.

She says in some area the effects of soil erosion, siltation and water pollution have started manifesting due to the loss of vegetation.

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