Environmentalists ask govt to expedite wetland conservation bill

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Environmentalists ask govt to expedite wetland conservation bill
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Environmentalists have urged government to expedite the enactment of the Wetland, Conservation, and Management Bill that will enforce the protection of wetlands in Uganda.

This call for action came during the World Environment Day commemoration at Kiswa Primary School in Nakawa Division, convened by Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) that brought together environmentalists to raise awareness about the importance of wetland conservation.

Hellen Kasujja, the Deputy Executive Director of Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) asked Members of Parliament to ensure that the  bill is passed into a law to help curb encroachment on wetlands.

"We want to call upon government specifically cabinet to ensure that they expedite the movement of the wetland preservation and management bill such that it can be pushed to Parliament, but it's not just enough that the bill is actually pushed to Parliament. It's also very important that the bill consults widely with the communities with the key stakeholders such that private sector, businesses, academia can input in that job," Kasujja said.

Kasujja reiterated CIDI's goal to foster collaboration among all stakeholders in the conservation of the environment and the protection of wetlands, emphasizing their vital role as natural filters essential for maintaining the health of our water, soil, and ecosystems.

"Our goal is to bring all stakeholders together to conserve the environment and protect wetlands, which are crucial filters for our health, water, soil, and ecosystem. Wetlands must be protected jealously, as they provide essential services."

Eng. Ronald Balimwezo, the Nakawa East Member of Parliament took the swipe at the ministry of lands for  issuing land titles to investors in wetlands.

"The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has issued titles to investors, leading to development that hinders water filtration into the lake. As a result, Lake Victoria is now contaminated with heavy metals, garbage, and maggots."

Balimwezo pointed out that due to investors building in wetlands, National Water and Sewerage Corporation  is forced to spend a significant amount of money treating our water.

"National Water and Sewerage Corporation spends heavily on treatment of water. This burden is passed down to our people, making water unaffordable," Balimwezo added.

He stressed the importance of treating the environment with care, highlighting its crucial role as our lifeline.

"We are feeling the effects of environmental degradation, evident in the heat we are experiencing today. As Parliament, we will push for the environmental conservation bill to curb ecosystem degradation."

Hazrah Okema, Country Representative for Seniors Without Borders, one of the funders of CIDI, said that their approach shifted from mitigation to adoption, recognising that climate change is here to stay.

"Our efforts now concentrate on adapting to the new reality."

Okema added that they are now integrating climate change education into children learning to equip them with the skills to adapt and innovate in response to climate change.

"One of our strategies is investing in young children, integrating climate change education into their learning to equip them with the skills to adapt and innovate in response to climate change. We believe that by empowering the next generation, we can build a more resilient future for all."

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