INVESTIGATION: Illegal Sand Mining in Uganda Leaves Nature Wailing. It is evident that over 30 companies owned by both Chinese and locals in the areas of Mpigi, Kasangi, Lwera, and Kalungu are found mining sand without properly licensed documents.
Some of the businessmen and women occupying the area of Kasangi claim that they are working for big people in the government. Some of these Chinese nationals are operating solely without even a registered company they mine sand direct from the lake which is an illegal activity.
According to our sources, it is alleged that the Lwera based companies labelled Double Q and Kamaliba community among many others are guarded by men in uniform and are operating on forged documents from the famous Nasser road a street in Kampala commonly known for duplication and manipulation of authoritative documents in the country.
Double Q company has gone ahead to construct permanent structures with a wall fence in the Lwera wetland. More structures are covered with containers with the intention of dodging enforcement to demolish them.
Some of the permanent structures in Lwera Wetland along the Kampala-Masaka highway.
The Chairman Kamaliba community and the project lead claim to be a cadre supporting the ruling party the National Resistance Movement and that his trust and confidence are confined in the generals of the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Force and their friends.
Speaking to one Thomas (not real name) he says, this shows that the inspectors from the Ministry of Water and Environment together with the National Environmental Authority (NEEMA) are not doing enough and nothing they can do to stop these dangers to the environment.
“The illegal activities ongoing are a source of daily bread to these officers around. They pretend to have closed some of them but in just an hour after the operation, you find that the companies have resumed work.”
At one time Members of Parliament on the Committee of Environment made a tour to Lwera but surprisingly instead of taking them to the companies performing illegal mining activities they were led to a rice irrigation farm.
This leads to a confirmation that the officers from the authority in charge of protecting the environment (NEMA) are aware of the dubious actions ongoing in the Lwera wetland. This has coined a number of questions.
Some of the companies that are fully registered and legally operating raise an alarm of unfair competition from the briefcase and red flag the companies which are not known legally and are doing business (mining and selling sand at a price of their choice).
- There should be a uniform price range of sellers in the sand mining areas to create a fair completion among the business competitors.
- Is the Environmental Police and NEMA aware of permanent buildings in Lwera wetlands?
- Constructed permanent structures in the Lwera wetlands should be demolished and also other ongoing constructions in sand mining areas stopped.
- Why has NEMA failed to stop illegal sand miners from operating until they get clear documents from the authorities?
- NEMA and the Environmental Police should explain why materials including machines of some companies which are illegally operating in the wetlands cannot be confiscated.
- Is the Environmental enforcement Police supporting the misuse of wetlands as well as aiding the construction of permanent buildings in these areas?
- Why should companies continue to violate environmental guidelines unquestionable?
- Why is the Ministry of Water and Environment and environmental activists silent on the issues concerning the dying nature in these wetlands?
- Activities of Kamaliba Community, Katabazi and Double Q companies should be cross-checked in regards to environmental protection and destruction.
- Relevant agencies should ONLY issue permits to competent companies but also be keen on how their activities in the wetlands.