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Mining: Moroto District Battling Environmental Degradation

Moroto District Natural Resource Officer, John Lotyang, says the damage caused on environment through mining is alarming and threatens livelihoods in the district. He notes that many empty holes are being dug daily as people comb the land for minerals yet nothing is done to restore the areas.

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Moroto district is battling serious environmental degradation emanating from the high demand for wood fuel as the major source of energy for households coupled with mining activities that have left ditches and deep holes in the area.     

The practice has been exacerbated by the already precarious land degradation where winds are common and damage infrastructure in the district. 

The search for minerals such as limestone, marble, gold, copper, silver, manganese, chrome, tantalite and titanium are some of the activities causing land degradation in the district.

Moroto District Natural Resource Officer, John Lotyang, says the damage caused on the environment through mining is alarming and threatens livelihoods in the district. 

He notes that many empty holes are being dug daily as people comb the land for minerals yet nothing is done to restore the areas.   

He explains that the district relies on the Environmental Impact Assessment by the mining companies because they lack resources and personnel in the department.

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Currently, Tororo Cement, the limestone dealer in Tapac Sub County has only planted a few trees around Kosiroi Primary School out of the hundreds of acres where stones have been excavated. 

The area is full of holes now threatening the establishment of Mt. Moroto. On the other side, DAO Marble mining activities are also entering part of the mountain from Rupa side, a development that is already causing heavy winds affecting the climate in Rupa Sub County.   

 

At Jan Mangal Gold Mining site that was abandoned in 2013, open ditches have prevented residents from grazing their livestock. The company abandoned the area without restoring the area after failing to find gold.

A report from Civil Society Organization including Caritas Moroto, Karamoja Development Forum and Climate Action Network indicates that Karamoja is among areas plagued by some of the extreme forms of climate change challenges as a result of environmental degradation arising mainly from human activities such as bush burning, charcoal burning, urban sprawl and extractives.

The report notes that it will require effective regulatory mechanisms and strong political will to prevent exploration and mining companies from clearing bushes and polluting water sources and air.

Emmanuel Lokii, an artisanal miner and youth leaders in Moroto wants the district to sensitize communities on the dangers of destroying the environment.

He also wants both local and central government to restrict mineral activities to only individuals and companies compliant in environmental mitigation plans.