Friday, April 23, 2010

Lubigi wetland under attack

By Venex Watebawa

The rate of degradation at the only remaining wetland Lubigi has alarmed environmental conservationists with the degradation standing at 42% compared to the national average of 30%.
A research conducted by AROCHA Christians in nature conservation an international organisation in Uganda reveals that by 1995, Lubigi wetland occupied 498 hectors and has since reduced to 85 by 2009.

As the world marks the international earth day, Uganda is focusing at the restoration of wetlands especially around Kampala which have been invaded in the names of development.
Conservationists are still left with hope that nature one time will deal with those who have taken it upon themselves to deplete wetlands.

Kampala is currently left with Lubigi as the only wetland with papyrus and it regulates floods from the surrounding areas joining river mayanja before entering river Nile.

According to the director A Rocha Christian in nature conservation Uganda, Sarah Kaweesa if line government departments the National Environment Management Authority NEMA and the wetland conservation department at the ministry of water and environment dose not apply the legal instruments, Lubigi wetland is likely to be no more by 2015.

By 1995 wetlands covered slightly above 13% of the total land surface and currently they have been reduced to 9% as the degradation rate continue to increase with areas of Kampala and eastern Uganda have lost over 50% according to Dr. Henry Aryamanya Mugisha the director of NEMA.

New rear bird spices including the Wood sand piper, papyrus gonelek, white winged warbler, marsh tchagra and magpie manikin are among the birds occupying the wetland. Two rear visiting migrant birds the wood sand piper and raff were also discovered in the wetland today.
Officials from nature Uganda said that efforts need to be stepped up to save the wetland so as to develop bird watching tourism in Kampala and specifically in Lubigi.

The number of birds so far discovered in the Lubigi has risen from 59 adding to 61 spices and of which 9 spices are listed as endangered spices by the CITES of which 3 birds are endemic to papyrus swamp habitat.

In a related development, the efforts to clean up the Lubigi water channels, efforts were frustrated as locals offered to open up channels but KCC Rubaga division could not send the garbage trucks.

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