Kasese District authorities are struggling to evict people living along the river banks.
In May last year, both the municipal authorities and district
authorities ordered people leaving near the banks of Nyamwamba and Mubuku
rivers to vacate with immediate effect following a wave of floods that washed
away Kilembe Mines Hospital and destroyed several
villages across the district.
The authorities reasoned that human activities had continued to
destroy the river bed and banks resulting in flooding.
In 2013, Kasese municipal council passed a resolution to evict all
the sand miners along the river banks, but to date, this resolution has never
Evelyn Mugume, the Kasese Municipality Environment Officer says
they are facing a lot of resistance from those living near the banks and residents mining
sand from the rivers.
She says on several occasions law enforcement
agents and other officers have survived being attacked by the community.
//Cue in: “They have chased…
Cue out: …move e step.”//
Mugume also says illegal sand mining near rivers has had diverse
effects on the surrounding surface and groundwater.
However, she says the district is carrying out massive sensitization of
the population in Kasese through radio programs, community dialogues and
seminars, about the effects of mining on the banks of the river.
Augustine Kooli the Kasese District Environment officer says human
settlement along the river banks has led to the degradation of the Nyamwamba river valley.
However, he says the lack of manpower has continued to derail
their efforts to involve those operating around the banks.
Yassin Tumwine, the Director of National Youth Organization for
Development- NAYODE, a local NGO championing environment conservation says there
is a need for the district authorities to partner with other stakeholders to
Research findings have indicated that heavy rains in Kasese have
washed copper pyrites down-slope into River Nyamwamba and Lake George where a high
concentration of iron, copper, zinc and cadmium have accumulated in water,
plants and soil.
There are also fears that activities such as fishing and tourism
are being endangered.
May, Kasese District leaders asked the government to relocate persons living
along the banks of major Rivers. The leaders argue that they don’t have land to
resettle the persons.
March Kasese District leaders asked the government to establish an
inter-ministerial committee to address the problem of disasters especially
floods in the district.
leaders argue that the committee would also help the district to plan ahead of
heavy rains between March and May. However, this committee is yet to
be considered by the government.