Authorities halt govt road project over wetland degradation

The Kajurugo Road project whose construction has been halted to prevent environmental degradation. PHOTO/ZADOCK AMANYISA

What you need to know:

  • A district leader said they are currently facing wetland degradation and leaders must serve as good examples in protecting the environment.

Authorities in Bushenyi District have halted a road construction project by the Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipal Council on grounds citing environmental concerns.

A September 30 district Council meeting found that the municipal officials unlawfully opened up the new Kajurugo Road in their area with Shs12million from the central division.

The road aimed to improve access to the proposed Bushenyi central market- and also create a new street, according to the municipal engineer Adam Banyenzaki.

Bushenyi District Chairperson Jafari Basajabalaba said “it was wrong for the municipal officials to implement a government project without an Environmental Impact Assessment report and approval from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).”

Basajabalaba further argued that the district is currently facing wetland degradation and leaders must serve as good examples in protecting the environment.

“We must make sure that all degraded wetlands are restored and those that are still existing must be protected. It is a directive from the President and we must comply with it and make sure that,” he noted

However, the Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality Mayor Richard Byaruhanga stressed that it was not necessary for the meeting to focus on a small area when other areas in the district and municipality in particular are facing degradation.

“Go and see what is happening in Ruharo. Is it not a catchment area? Why are questioning officers not applying that technical knowledge to stop degradation in such areas? In that swamp, everything has been degraded but on such a small development, you need a report. Why don’t you stop those people degrading the Ruharo environment,” he questioned.

The Municipal Engineer Adam Banyenzaki October 1 told Monitor that they are doing all it takes to have the project given a green light by NEMA, a day after Friday’s meeting resolved that there must be conditional assessment for all projects as a prerequisite before public funds are allocated for projects.

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