Lutembe wetland facing extinction - report

Wednesday April 24 2013

A man points towards part of Lutembe wetland.

A man points towards part of Lutembe wetland. PHOTO BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA 

By Martin Ssebuyira

Lutembe Bay Wetland System is facing extinction due to encroachment and agro chemicals from flower farms, according to a new government report.

The report prepared by the Wetland Management Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment indicates the wetland has been encroached on by real estate developers and individuals.

According to the report, the proliferation of flower farms in the wetlands, use of agrochemicals and encroachment has led to the destruction of habitat and feeding grounds for birds, fish and other animals.

“Some of the flower farms, industries and agricultural activities located in or near Lutembe wetland system discharge their waste treatment chemicals and fertilisers into the wetland, which eventually find their way into the lake with far reaching effects such as eutrophication, affecting breeding grounds for fish species,” the report reads in part.

It adds that sand quarrying and brick making activities are damaging the ecological system of the wetlands.

The report recommends a review of environment impact assessments and evaluation of land titles of farms and housing estates near the wetland.

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It calls for complete closure in some cases to check mushrooming industries and flower farms extending into the wetlands.

The report recommends developing and disseminating of specific resource user guidelines for carrying out activities around the wetland, establishment of a resource centre to boost research and tourism and designating a Ramsar Site manager to oversee management responsibilities of the wetland system.

The Microenterprise Development Agency Africa Cooperative (MACO-OP), an association of people living near the wetland, has started mobilising community members to set up a network for conservation action.

mssebuyira@ug.nationmedia.com

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