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Gulu City Authorities Stops Construction of Fuel Station On Wetland :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Gulu City Authorities Stops Construction of Fuel Station On Wetland

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Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga, says the construction work is illegal since it contravenes the environmental act and threatens the environment. He says that they won’t allow it to proceed
A Grader operator demolishes iron sheets erected to fence off the area for construction of a filling station on a demarcated wetland in Gulu City on Monday.

Audio 5

Gulu City council authorities have again halted the planned construction of a fuel station in a wetland in Bardege-Layibi Division.  On Monday afternoon, a team of law enforcement officers from the city council erased the enclosure at the proposed construction site around Pece Stream.

The investor had resumed works on the only remaining water catchment areas in the city, after months of stopping the project following protests from city officials and environmentalists. Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga, says the construction work is illegal since it contravenes the environmental act and threatens the environment.

He says that they won’t allow it to proceed.  Okwonga however notes that there are unanswered questions as to how the investor acquired a title from Gulu District land board and an impact assessment certificate from the National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA.

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Okwonga says NEMA and Gulu District land board must explain the circumstances under, which they cleared and issued a title to the Investor to use the wetland. Robert Komakech, the speaker Bardege-Layibi Gulu City Division, says that the city council physical planning committee didn't endorse the construction of the pump fuel station since the area is in a demarcated wetland.

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He said stopping the investor from proceeding with the works is a step in the right direction, adding that it will send a good signal to other environmental degraders.

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Environmental activist says there is a need by the city officials to conserve the available wetland covers within the city from degradation with the rising urbanization and population boom. Peter Rock Okwoko, an environmental activist and co-founder of Takataka Plastics, says that any infrastructural development on the wetland will be disastrous to the ecosystem and people who depend on it for agriculture.

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Luo

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Okwoko lauded the city authorities for taking a bold step in stopping the development of the wetland and called for more efforts to save other water catchment areas under threats of degradation.

Lawrence Okello, the managing Director of Oil Energy (U) Ltd, who is behind the proposed construction didn’t pick up repeated phone calls from our reporter on his known mobile number. The wetland boundaries in Gulu City have been shrinking over the years due to the rapid urbanization and population boom. The majority of the wetlands have been encroached on for settlement, farming and other economic activities such as the establishment of washing bays.