Wetland encroachment and associated eviction challenges : A case study of Lubiji
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Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, as they provide benefits to humans and the environment. Despite their value, wetlands are being degraded at an unprecedented rate. The research investigated the reasons for the continuing wetland degradation, eviction challenges faced by the enforcement team and NEMA and strategies for conservation of Lubigi wetland. The main objectives for this research included investigating why Lubigi wetland is continually being encroached upon, finding out the hazards of human encroachment on Lubigi wetland, why NEMA sometimes fails in evicting the encroachers on the wetland, and developing strategies for preventing human encroachment on Lubigi wetland. 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 threat to wetlands is posed by human activities that transform them, according to the research there are several activities that take place within and at the fringes of Lubigi wetland and these included, creation of settlements, road construction, Industrialization, harvesting papyrus, farming, harvesting animal grass, brick making, car washing among others which have resulted in severe degradation of wetlands. There are various impacts that were noted to be arising out of human encroachment on Lubigi wetland and these included; Loss of vegetation cover, flooding, water pollution, weather and seasonal changes. The study further investigated eviction challenges on Lubigi swamp which according to the Physical planner of Nansana Municipality included Lack of appropriate Institutional Framework, Land tenure and ownership, Political goodwill, Policy failures, Inadequate funding for wetland conservation and eviction teams, Few stuff on ground, Lack of resettlement plans. The research concluded that, as the population number of the wetland encroachment increases, the problems are bound to increase. In order to avoid further development problems, forecasting the future reminder of the wetland needs to be done. Although policies have been created for the conservation and protection of the wetland, a major gap in achieving them has never been implemented. With increased human activities in the wetland, exposure to flooding and pollution will likely have more impact 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.