The Ministry of Water and Environment has started the demarcation and restoration of degraded banks along River Sironko under the Ecosystems adaption project.
The project is supported by the Global Environment Facility and UN Environment programmers that seeks to restore the integrity of sensitive ecosystems which is concurrently being implemented in the 10 pilot districts.
The initiative is also part of the ministry’s national plan to demarcate rivers, lakes, wetlands, and hilly and mountain areas countrywide.
The symbolic launch was done by the Sironko Resident District Commissioner Denis Mulwanirewa who jointly planted the first pillar alongside the commissioner of water and environment Maureen Anino.
Anino revealed that the planting of pillars will continue to cover the 20km stretch along the river adding that this project is being implemented in 10 other districts including neighboring Bulambuli.
“Government is also using its own funds to do demarcation across the whole country to restore and protect the integrity of these ecosystems for the benefit of our people,” Anino said.
The intervention is expected to curb recurrent flooding and associated disasters attributed to the gross degradation of the river banks due to farming activities.
The intervention hopes to restore river banks and wetlands where some of the farmers have grown crops such as bananas up to a meter close to the river against the 100-meter provision under the Environment Protection Act.
Some of the project-affected persons expressed ignorance about the 100-meter buffer provision citing a lack of sensitization.
Sironko Natural Resources officer Rashid Nambale revealed that the demarcation will cover 15 meters from the edge of the river instead of the 100 meters provided by law.
Balayo Dison a district councilor representing Sironko Town Council who doubles as the chairperson of the district Natural Resources and Environment Committee told Nile Post that the leaders advocated for 15 meters instead of 100 meters to avoid severe impact of the project on community livelihood owing to the land shortage in the area.
Anino revealed that the project has a component of alternative livelihood projects for affected persons.
Siwa Michael a resident of the bridge cell in Sironko Town Council blamed the community action (encroachment) on to lack of sensitization about the 100-meter before the project.
“We need government to sensitize people clearly before they own land. We bought this land, not knowing that government will at one time come and take over so we need compensation”
Bridge cell chairperson Peter Gizamba also noted that a section of his residents are skeptical about surrendering their gardens for unclear alternative livelihood projects.
However, officials said that local leaders were sensitized that the land would remain in the hands of the owners with restrictions to conservation activities such as planting bamboo and elephant grass to bind the river banks.
“They will support us with animals which will feed on the same grass that government will have planted for us while those involved in horticulture outside the demarcated area will be boosted with water pumps.”
Anino revealed that the alternative livelihood will be delayed due to procurement bureaucracies adding that “hopefully April we shall be able to come and meet the different groups to be able to identify the livelihood options they want to undertake”
The intervention is part of the continuous demarcation and restoration of wetlands, rivers, hilly and mountainous areas, and natural forests by the government as part of reducing community vulnerability to climate change vagaries
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202312150233.html
Publish date : 2023-12-15 10:13:40