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Ministry of Environment starts wetland restoration in Sheema, Buhweju districts

Wetland demarcation in Sheema district. URN photo

Sheema, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Water and Environment has patterned with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international organization to restore more than 3,000 acres of wetlands in Sheema and Buhweju districts.

Since last week, police have been destroying gardens, covered big pits of brick makers and sand miners in wetlands, and cutting down trees along wetlands. In Bugongi town council, Sheema gardens of millet, coffee and banana plantations, sugarcane, beans, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes were cleared affecting more than 700 households.

Moses Egaru, the programs manager IUCN, says that they are targeting to restore five wetlands of Nyakajumo, Rwamuganga, Kyarikunda, Bigona, in Sheema district and Kanoni wetland system in Buhweju.

Jackson Mukiibi, the wetlands officer in the Ministry of Environment says the restoration is also aimed at saving the inlets of the Kandekye-Ruhorobero catchment that covers Ntungamo, Sheema, and Bushenyi districts.

Patrick Turyatunga Boaz, the Sheema District Environment Officer says over 20,000 hectares of wetlands have been encroached on in Sheema district alone especially in areas like Kabwohe town council.

He says people have established farmlands, gardens, constructed buildings, and laid bricks in wetlands.

Turyatunga says that during the Covid-19 lockdown, the encroachment on wetlands increased since most economic activities were affected.

Dennis Owakubariho, the LC3 Chairperson Rugrama sub county welcomed the restoration but expressed worry that the destroyed gardens belong to over 600 people from four villages, who could be hit with hunger.

Maxicence Katusiime, a resident of Kigoye cell says they were asked to stop cultivating in the wetland with a promise of giving them pigs as an alternative source of income, but they are yet to receive them.

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