Government to Replant Papyrus in Lubigi

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Recent massive encroachment on Lubigi wetland left the water catchment area ineffective, but the government has mooted ideas of restoring it by replanting papyrus in compacted areas.

“There are sections which were compacted by soil and other foreign materials. Such sections can’t regenerate naturally,” Mr Paul Mafabi, the commissioner of wetlands in the Ministry of Water and Environment, said yesterday.

“We will have to replant papyrus in affected areas before the end of June,” he added.
Mr Mafabi said the ministry will in the next financial year demarcate boundaries of wetlands to protect them from future encroachments.

“This has delayed because we lacked resources,” he said, adding that government will partner with the Lubaga Division to kick-start the process in July.
Mr Mafabi, however, could not estimate the cost of the process, saying the ministry is still conducting assessments.

The move comes days after the police and army used force to evict a group of people under their umbrella, Uganda Patriotic Volunteers Association, who invaded the marshland last week.

The encroachers had by then cleared over 6 acres of the swamp and put up makeshift market stalls. The wetland, which is about 5 kilometres off Kampala City on the Kampala-Hoima Road, shields northern parts of Kampala from flooding.

Eviction complete
The swamp takes water from River Nsooba, whose flood plain at Bwaise has been destroyed after years of reclamation to pave way for settlement. According to Mr Richard Lubwama, one of the group leaders, the organisation had registered over 40,000 occupants by the time they were evicted.

Meanwhile, according to some sources, encroachers invaded the swamp on grounds that government had granted part of it to an investor, which government denies. Minister Mutagamba said the ongoing development is a sewage treatment plant to improve sewage handling within the Greater Kampala Master Plan.

The facility will ensure proper treatment of sewerage and storm-flow from Kawempe, Mulago, Bwaise, Makerere, Kalerwe and Nansana,” Mutagamba said.

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