Environment agency sues sand mining firms

Wednesday February 6 2019

Sand mining in Lwera

Sand mining in Lwera wetland 

By JULIET KIGONGO & BETTY NDAGIRE

KAMPALA- An environmental body has sued four sand mining companies seeking to block them from further carrying out of the mining business in various wetlands in Lwera and Lake Victoria.

The four companies are: Capital Estates, Seroma, Zhongs Industries and Mango Tree Group. They are accused of sand mining in Lwera wetland, Nasitta, Nkozi Sub-county Mpigi District and Lake Victoria.

In the petition before the High Court, Advocates for Natural Resources Development sued the four sand mining companies for allegedly violating the surrounding communities’ constitutional rights to a clean and healthy environment and right to life.

Advocates for Natural Resources Development is a company incorporated to protect nature through advocacy for good governance of natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

The environmental body contends that after obtaining mining permits, the companies started carrying out sand mining in a manner contrary to what is provided in the law and permits issued by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

“In spite of mining sand in a wetland, the defendants have carried on without obtaining a wetland resource use permit. They have refused to restore the mine and left open sand pits which cause flooding and breeding grounds for mosquitoes likely to cause diseases and sickness to the surrounding communities,” reads in part the petition.

Advertisement

“The open sand pits are habitats for inversive aquatic plants like the water hyacinth and kariba weed which has the impact of lowering light penetration and reduces gas exchange between the water and atmosphere hence affecting aquatic life,” the petitioners further state.

They also say Capital Estates, Seroma and Zhongs Industries have not submitted an inventory of the amount of waste generated by their activities.

The environmental body contends that Lwera Wetland is a catchment area for several rivers that flow into Lake Victoria and mining of the sand in the same deprives Ugandans of the benefits.

Purpose
The petitioners are seeking a court declaration that the acts of the defendants infringe on people’s fundamental right to a clean and healthy environment. They also want the accused companies to deposit in court the money assessed for restoration of the affected ecosystem. They also want a permanent injunction restraining the companies from further mining of sand in Lwera wetland.

Advertisement