Nema disowns company illegally mining sand on L. Victoria

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The National Environmental Management Authority [NEMA] has disowned a company has been illegally mining sand from Lake Victoria under the pretext of building ships.

The authority says a company called Mango Tree sought approval to construct a ship yard at Bugiri-Bukasa village Katabi Sub County Wakiso district.

NEMA granted its approval on June 1, 2016. The certificate was restricted to ship building.

Between July and August 2016, a criminal case was opened against Mango Tree following a tip off that a large ship on Lake Victoria had been mining and dumping sand at Miami Beach in Luzira.

On September 2, 2016, Mango Tree submitted its Environment Impact Assessment [EIA] report to NEMA seeking approval to mine sand from three spots on the lake.

The EIA was rejected on September 6, basing on the fact that disturbance of lake and river beds is prohibited.

Between April 9 and 12 2017, NEMA accompanied by officials from relevant state agencies inspected sites that mango tree insisted were safe for sand mining.

Subsequently, a report rejecting Mango Tree’s sand mining activities was compiled and circulated to relevant ministers, agencies and district officials.

On December 18, 2017, NEMA called for a symposium organised by Operation Wealth Creation to discuss issues of sand mining.

NEMA was told to provide expert advice and update of the review process of Mango Tree’s activities.

NEMA officials explained why Mango Tree’s proposals had been rejected and provided the science which is the basis of the law.

NEMA says it has no approved sand mining in lake victories for Mango Tree or anyone else.