Exclusive: Masaka City Ramsar Site Under A very Big Threat As Authorities Look On

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By Andrew Mugonza ‘Senator’

Nabajjuzi Wetland System found in central Uganda has been greatly encroached on by rich people carrying out illegal activities creating threats on the birds and fish species.

The most affected villages are Kigamba, Kasajjagirwa, Kijjabwemi under Kabirampango tributary of Nabajjuzi Wetland System.

The ongoing illegal activities have pushed top environmentalists to issue stringent warnings to Masaka City authorities and those encroaching on Nabajjuzi Wetland.

Environmentalists accuse authorities of risking their pursuit to be accredited as Ramsar city if they fail to swing into action to stop individuals who are mismanaging ecosystems most especially Nabajjuzi Wetland which is a ramsar site.

This has followed reports of reckless filling of Kamirampango wetland a tributary of Nabajjuzi main wetland by a Partice Baguma in a bid to develop this area into a yet to be identified project.

According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, United Nations vetted Masaka city for accreditation with city status and if this process succeeds Masaka will become the second ramsar city in Africa following Ghar El melh in Tunisia, the identification of Masaka was based on Nabajjuzi wetland which is under serious attack in silence of most of the authorities.

Mr Antonio Kalyango the Executive Director for Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (BCF) a grassroots community-based organization fighting biodiversity degradation in Greater Masaka led a team of environmentalists to the site to assess how this illegal act is endangering this priceless resource.

Kalyango told Whisper Eye News that they want Baguma to prove that he was permitted to do what he is doing from a Wetland by producing a permit that was issued to him.

Wilson Kutamba the programs manager at BCF said that one of the criteria for accreditation is a proof of innovations on how City authorities are conserving wetlands Masaka leadership will fail to prove if immediate actions are not taken.

They have tasked the environment office to work with the Ministry to ensure that whatever is being done is halted with immediate effect.

Masaka City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ms. Pauline Nabadda confirmed that when they assessed the area under attack it was found that large masses of soil were being poured into a wetland and promised to wit with line offices to halt this.

Masaka City mayor Her Worship Florence Namayanja told Whisper Eye News that they received complaints from different groups of people including environmentalists and are soon reacting pending thorough investigations.

However, although the environmentalists warned authorities, it seems the authorities are not bothered about saving the Nabajjuzi ramsar site, as of now no serious measures are taken to halt the ongoing degradation.

Green Climate Campaign Africa (GCCA) director Mr Timothy Mugerwa told Whisper Eye in an exclusive interview, that they are going to collect plastic materials from Nabajjuzi Wetland as well as engage the Masaka City authorities to take actions on those encroaching on the Nabajjuzi Wetland due to its immense importance to Masaka Subregion.

Uganda has 12 Ramsar sites namely; Lake Mburo-Nakivali Wetland System, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison falls-Albert Delta Wetland system, Murchison falls National Park, Lake Bisina Wetland System, Lake Nakuwa Wetland System, Lake Opera Wetland System, Sango Bay-Musambwa Island -Kagera Wetland System (SAMUKA), Nabajjuzi Wetland System, Lutembe Bay Wetland System, Mabamba Bay Wetland System, Lake Nabugabo, Rwenzori Mountain National Park, and Lake George.

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