The National Environment Management Authority-NEMA backed by police and environmentalists under Active citizens Uganda has destroyed hundreds of crop gardens in wetlands in Kakiika division in Mbarara municipality.
The activists descended on the gardens on Monday and slashed down all crops in an attempt to restore the wetlands. The affected gardens were in Kangorogoro, Kabingo and Kitabwa in Kakiika division of Mbarara municipality.
Some of the destroyed crops included Bananas, sugarcane, beans, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. The wetland in question drains water into River Rwizi, which is a lifeline of millions of people in western and central Uganda.
David Nuwagaba, the Mbarara District Senior Environment Office, says they cleared all the crops to enable the wetland to regenerate.
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Polly Muyambi, the chairperson Active Citizens Uganda, a community based organization operating in Mbarara, has appealed to government to enforce stringent measures to protect the wetlands.
Ivan Mukhone, the officer in charge of the Southwestern Environmental Protection Police Unit, says they are willing to give the necessary support to ensure that wetlands are restored. He says their work is to ensure the Ugandan environment is protected at all costs.
Some of the wetland encroachers say they were not information about the operation to allow them to harvest their crops.
Joy Tugumisirize, one of the encroachers, says she lost five acres of eucalyptus trees.