Investigating the applicability of environmental Buffers in Urbanised areas a case study of Katabi Town Council
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Lakes, Wetlands Streams, Rivers and Forests are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, as they provide benefits to humans and the environment. Despite their value, these ecological systems are being degraded at an unprecedented rate. The research investigated on the applicability of environmental buffers in urbanized areas, Challenges faced by the enforcement team of Katabi Town Council Implications of the Buffers on the People and the Environment. The main objective of this study was to investigate the applicability of Environmental buffers in the urbanized areas using Katabi Town Council as a case study. Three specific objectives were set, included mapping out the different buffer zones and examine the basis for their sizes, examining the implications of different Buffers sizes in relation to the National Physical Planning Standards and Guidelines 2011 and identifying possible measures to the challenges of encroachment on ecologically sensitive areas in Katabi Town Council. In order to achieve the study objectives, a mix of methods were used. These included, observation, photography, administering of questionnaires, interviews, literature review and use of maps and for data analysis. Results from the survey showed that the biggest threats to applicability of Buffers are the Land Ownerships, undemarcated land for the buffers and the Political interferences, these followed by human activities that transform them, according to the research there are several activities that take place within these buffer zones and these included, creation of settlements, road construction, Horticulture, Hotel Developments, and many lake front activities, farming, harvesting animal grass, brick making, car washing among others which have resulted in severe degradation and unrealization of buffers. There are various impacts that were noted to be arising out of human encroachment and these included; Loss of vegetation cover, flooding, water pollution, weather and several others. Implementation of environmental Buffers by the enforcement team is a major gap in achieving them, though planned in the Physical development plans, actually most of them have never been implemented. With increased human activities in the environmentally sensitive areas like wetland, exposes to flooding and pollution which has more impacts on the health and livelihoods of vulnerable communities. There is a need for coordinated adaptation strategies that involve all stakeholders, these include, community participation and awareness, setting rules and regulations, which are to be fostered by the government of Uganda, and using of alternative pieces of land instead of the wetland, possibly through zoning out the wetland and restricting certain activities to specific zones so as to enhance equitable utilization of wetland resources among others.