Available statistics show that wetland coverage in Uganda has dropped from 37,346.3 Sq. Km in 1994 (15.5 percent) to 21,526.3 Sq.Km which is an 8.9 percent decrease. There is also a projection indicating that if the destruction trends are not checked, Uganda will be left with only 1.6 percent of wetlands cover by 2040.
In January this year, the Uganda Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners-UGAASM on behalf of over 23 mining associations operating in Mubende-Kassanda gold mining areas petitioned the Natural Resources Committee of parliament requesting, among other issues that the Energy Ministry gazettes for them at least one square kilometer off the mining license EL 1093.
Mayuge district headquarters has been a bee hive of activities for the past few days as men with noisy power saws cut down trees in almost all directions. Some trucks were have been ferrying the logs to unknown destination.
In December, the Western Region Wetlands Coordinator, Daniel Businge, presented a report to Joseph Ongol, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Wetland Management in the Ministry of Water and Environment implicating Muganzi for constructing houses and planting eucalyptus trees in Mugunu Wetland, Fort Municipality.
Uganda’s forest cover has been depleted to 8% up from 24% in 1990s, largely attributed to human encroachment for different activities such as tree cutting for charcoal and timber as well as agriculture.
The wetland is a lifeline for communities in Nyabihooko, Nyabushenyi and Ruhaama Sub Counties and part of Isingiro district. But it is now covered in trenches, dug up by farmers who have started creating vegetable gardens, tree nurseries and rearing animals within the gazetted wetland area.
Namulindwa says government lost the battle against wetland degradation, saying what remains is to help the encroachers to utilize them sustainably without causing more harm. She also asks government to plan for the rising population, which is piling pressure on the available land for cultivation.