President Museveni called on East Africans to stop the destruction of the environment by encroaching on the wetlands and forest reserves as well as cultivating in wetlands, on river banks and on lake shores.
Addressing East African Legislative Assembly members in Kampala, the president said that the destruction of wetlands has greatly contributed to the reduction of rains because the wetlands contribute 40% of the rain Uganda receives.
The president described the situation as a serious one that needs the attention of everyone.
“Wetlands should not be for cultivation. They should be rain catchment areas and need to be protected,” he said.
Last year, the president proposed that: If necessary, some more land should be purchased from the private owners to increase the forest cover. I normally see Islands of settlements inside the Mabira Forest. Why can’t the Government persuade them to sell to the Government so that the forest becomes one continuous mass like the Bwindi and the Imaramagaambo forests?’’
A recent study by the Ministry of Water and Environment entitled: The Wetland Atlas for Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono, indicates disconsolate future, not only for the aquatic life but the country at large. The report lists more than 30 wetlands facing excruciating pressure that may result into extinction if encroachers are not stopped soonest.
The wetlands, according to the report, are under constant threat from encroachers looking for land for settlement, industrial, agriculture and putting up social amenities like roads among others.