By Jolly Mbambu
Authorities and religious leaders in Fort portal tourism city and Toro region at large have observed need for conserving wetlands since they are inhabitants for many kinds of wild animals that attract tourists from different parts of the world hence boosting the country’s economy and tourism industry in the city.
The Resident City Commissioner Mr. Rogers Mbabazi said that due to increased population and high rates of urbanization, many wetlands in Fort portal have been encroached on, something that has affected the climate and the nature of the area.
Mbabazi said that Mugunu, Karamaga and Kangama wetlands’ developers have encroached on them and as authorities they need to take action, adding that the National Environmental Management Authority [NEMA] should come out to inspect all the activities taking place in the wetlands.
The laws state that any development must be implemented at least 100 meters away from any water body or wetland.
The Kabarole District Natural Resources Officer, Mr. Godfrey Ruyonga revealed that they have been warning people over encroaching on wetlands but they do not want to listen and this has affected the climate of the area.
The Community Liaisons Officer for Kabarole District ASP Patrick Muhenda says it is everyone’s responsibility to fight against encroachers and as police; they are going to take action against those people encroaching on wetlands.
However, religious leaders have also condemned and rebuked the encroachment on wetlands and the act of environmental degradation which according to them has led to the natural calamities that are destroying people.
Pr. Richard Rusoke of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Mid Western Uganda Mission said that both religious and government leaders are supposed to live exemplary lives to the local people in protecting the environment but it is shameful to find that leaders are on a high rate of encroaching on wetlands in the area.
He called for teamwork and cooperation among all the leaders including political, religious and cultural for the betterment of the city.
Bishop Robert Musinguzi of Light of Life Ministries added that people should practice afforestation and re-afforestation to prevent the sudden happening of disasters.