KATONGA —Shocking soil dumping at Katonga River bridge.
River Katonga is the longest river wholly within Uganda. This river is located at the Katonga bridge on Masaka road just after Kayabwe town. It flows from Lake Wamala in Mubende to lake Victoria and travels over 100 miles while its western shores empty into Lake George in Kamwenge district. This River drains through a number of districts that include Ibanda, Sembabule, Mpigi, Bukomansimbi, Kalungu, Gomba, Mubende, Kiruhura, Mityana and Butambala along its main course. This magnificent river is also the foundation of the popular Katonga Wildlife Reserve, the home to over 40 species of mammals as well as more than 150 species of birds worthy billions per year in foreign exchange earnings.
I have been shocked this morning while driving to Kampala to see a section of this river near the bridge at Kayabwe filled up with earth to reclaim land for the construction of a factory. This is not in my district and therefore I have no jurisdiction but I felt concerned, stopped, walked around to see exactly what is going on. You can see what I saw in the photos attached hereto. When I asked the policemen I found guarding the site whether they are the ones responsible for this, they answered back that it is a Chinise company and that for them they were just hired to guard the site.
I immediately contacted National Environment Management Authority denied knowledge of this development then contacted Mpigi District authorities, they also denied knowledge of the same.
Where is our country going? Parliament has just passed the NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT ACT, 2019 to specifically under section 52(a) to provide for emerging environmental issues including protection of riverbanks and lakeshores from human activities likely to adversely affect the rivers, lakes and the living organisms therein. The Act also created enhanced penalties for offenses relating to vice. But the concerned authorities still dont want to do there work despite this good law that even offers stringent punishments.
Filling this river with soil has the effect of the changing its course, changing water quality, quantity and flow rates which in turn disturbs the entire river ecosystem and that of lakes Victoria and George where it eventually empties its waters.
CHAIRMAN MASAKA DISTRICT