NEMA orders demolition of illegal structure in Mayanja Kato wetland

By Olivia Nakalembe

In a stern move to protect Uganda's fragile ecosystems, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has ordered the partial demolition of an expansion structure belonging to Ice Love Company Limited in Nsangi, Kyengera Town Council, Wakiso District.

The company was found guilty of illegally constructing the structure within the Mayanja Kato wetland system.

NEMA's enforcement arm, the Environment Protection Police Unit, executed the demolition, taking action following an inspection conducted by NEMA on August 10, 2023.

The inspection focused on the Namaya, Kasenso, and Mwerango wetlands, which collectively constitute the Mayanja Kato wetland system.

The findings revealed that the company was in violation of Section 1153-5 of the National Environment Act.

During the demolition, only a portion of the illegal structure was brought down, while the warehouse on the same premises was left standing. This decision raised questions among observers.

In response to the inquiries, Dr. Akankwasa Barirega, the Executive Director of NEMA, explained that they are in the process of establishing the gazette within which the warehouse falls.

As part of the administrative penalty scheme, NEMA imposed a fine of shillings 50 million on the company responsible for the environmental degradation.

Additionally, NEMA has mandated Ice Love Company Limited to initiate the restoration of the wetland to its original state.

Despite attempts to reach Ice Love Company Limited for comment, the company remained unresponsive. However, Major Joshuah Karamaji, the Head of Enforcement Operations, shed light on the situation, suggesting that unscrupulous individuals had illicitly sold the land to Ice Love Company Limited, which subsequently developed it unknowingly.

NEMA's decisive action in this case serves as a clear message that environmental conservation is a top priority, and violations will not be tolerated.

The agency's commitment to preserving Uganda's invaluable wetlands and natural resources remains steadfast as it continues to enforce environmental protection laws and regulations.

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