Assessing the factors that influence encroachment on Lubigi wetland
Wamala, Sseguya Musa
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Uganda is a beautiful country filled with an extensive amount of natural resources, such as wetlands. It is believed that these wetlands are a crucial source of food and water for almost 3 million people (Oguttu, 2008). As Uganda experiences increasing development as well as a rapidly increasing population, the wetlands become increasingly necessary, at the same time they become increasingly threatened. Wetland degradation is a severe environmental problem in the world. It is clear in the 1995 Ugandan constitution that Ugandan policy is aimed at ensuring sustainable development for the protection of the environment as well as the prosperity of the people, however this has been debatable. The study assessed that factors influencing wetland encroachment in Lubigi wetland. The study used interview guide and questionnaire methods so as to obtain information from different stakeholders who were obtained from Nabweru, Masanafu, Ganda and Namungoona and they were 55 respondents included in the study. The other people consulted were a development officers, environment officers and physical planners. The main drivers of wetland degradation identified were agricultural activities, over harvesting of wetland resources and infrastructure development. The drivers were related to socio-political dynamics and climatic changes. The study found out that wetland encroachment resulted into flooding, prolonged drought, biodiversity losses, spread of mosquito-borne diseases. The study therefore recommended for increase public sensitisation and awareness as essential for policy and legal framework implementation of wetland management policies at both local and central government levels. There must be need to increase information on wetlands, update wetland inventories, and effectively monitor wetlands by NEMA to reduces on the incidences of degradation by local communities and their daily socio-economic activities.