By Kampala Post Reporter
KAMPALA. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) together with Environment Protection Police Unit have concluded a three day operation against wetland encroachers.
The operation has led to the arrest of 54 suspects.
At the time of their arrest, they had already ploughed over the major wetlands of Lubiji and Busega, all in Kampala.
The encroachment has caused an inadvertent shift of the parks of taxis plying the Busega and Nansana route.
Police say that the arrests follow a sensitization drive that lasted for five months and done by both police and environmentalists, against illegal activities in gazetted wetlands.
“Regardless of the sensitization drive and several warnings by local leaders, the community continued with encroachment,” Police said in a statement on Friday evening.
The suspects are currently held at Nansana Police Station as investigations continue.
Conserving wetlands is part of protecting the environment. Encroaching on it is both endangering the ecosystem and unlawful and the powers of deterring encroachers are derived from Section 36 of the National Environment Act which provides for protection of wetlands and prohibiting any person from reclaiming, erecting or demolishing any structure that is fixed in, on, under or above any wetland.
As part of enforcing the National Environment Act, Uganda Police established an Environmental Protection Police Unit (EPPU) mandated to protect the environment in all aspects, including air space, forestry and biodiversity.
“Uganda Police also carries out joint activities with Ministry of Water and Environment that are in line with environmental protection, including community awareness on conserving the environment,” Police said.