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NEMA Stops Chinese Company Activities On Katonga Wetland

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has stopped Zetong Bang Limited, Chinese Company, from carrying out any activity in Katonga wetland.

This follows reports that the company had violated the conditions of the user permit which had been granted to them. The illegal activities of the company were exposed by Masaka LC V Chairperson, Jude Mbabali. 

The Chinese company wanted to set up a plywood factory and several warehouse units to this piece of land situated about 1km from the River Katonga Bridge.     

According to NEMA Deputy Executive Director Christine Akello, the Chinese firm had applied for a user permit for 40 acres of land to develop warehousing units but inspectors from NEMA visited the site and discovered that the said activities could only be done on only six acres.

It comes days after it was reported that the Ministry of Water and Environment was investigating National Environment Management Authority-NEMA for issuing an operation license in Katonga wetland.

Akello adds that after the permit was given the Chinese, they illegally reclaimed the wetland contrary to the permit guidelines even after they had been issued with an improvement notice. 

“We have since halted any activities to take place on the entire 40 acres as investigation into the matter go on. We will communicate the ultimate decision on the matter the soonest,” Akello said.

 Zetong Bang Limited staff who was found at the site, says that they had not violated the NEMA guideline but only reclaimed a small portion of the wetland as they wanted to plant some food for their staff.     

“This is a small piece of land where we wanted to plant some vegetables and other plants for our staff since we are using the six acres for the construction of warehouses as indicated in our architectural design,” said in Chinese as his interpreter translated.   

The reclaimed part where they alleged wanted to plant vegetables is almost two acres. 

On Monday, George Wamunga, head of wetland ecology monitoring and enforcement team at the Ministry of Water and Environment, said that the ministry had constituted a team to analyses how NEMA gave a user permit.

Joseph Ssempijja, secretary in- charge of natural resources says the district authorities took long to take action because they thought the Chinese had heeded to NEMA guidelines.

URN

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