NEMA suspends receipt, approval of ESIA reports

Kampala’s wetlands have been disappearing due to pollution and rapid encroachment in urban areas, and now account for only 16 percent of land cover (PHOTO /Courtesy)

The National Environment Management Authority has suspended receipt, consideration and approval of permits and Environment and Social Assessment for development of projects in wetlands until further notice.

Environment Impact Assessment is a process of analyzing the positive and negative effects of a proposed project, plan, or activity on the environment and this may include studies on the weather, flora and fauna, soil, human health including physical, social, biological, economic and cultural impacts. It is one of those measures taken to ensure that development is sustainable.

In a letter dated September 2, NEMA says that effective this month they have suspended all activities in the wetlands in order to allow government develop the capacity to regulate development in the wetlands.

The letter signed by the new executive the director at NEMA Dr. Barirega Akankwasah  says that receipt, consideration and approval of user permits is also suspended.

“The National Environment Management Authority [NEMA] hereby informs the public that effective 2 September 2021, we have suspended receipt, consideration and approval of user permits and Environment and Social Impact assessment for activities/development projects in wetlands until further notice,” reads the letter signed by Dr Akankwasah.

The letter adds that the public is encouraged to report any activity or development taking place in Wetlands to NEMA or nearest police station.

This comes at the time when a June 8, 2020 letter by the outgoing NEMA Executive Director, Tom Okurut, says that the January and May inspections found out that the encroachers have continuously degraded the wetlands by digging drainage channels, depositing murram, erecting illegal structures, fencing them off to obstruct free public access to them and introducing of foreign plant and animal species which destroy the wetlands.

And also comes at the time many road projects across the country are supposed to be commissioned for construction and they need ESIA report to commence.

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