illness http://consultants-lactation.org/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php geneva;”>”To all the offenders of environmental integrity, http://crememinceur.com/wp-includes/category-template.php the time has come when the law will apply without fear or favor. I therefore take this opportunity to send a stern warning to those who have been abusing the environment with impunity that once caught as a culprit; there will be no appeal to my Ministry, rather all issues will be settled in accordance with the prevailing laws,” Mutagamba warns.
The Minister has been commissioning the Environment Protection Force (EPF), the first of its kind in Uganda.
Mutagamba tells press the force is mandated to ensure compliance with environmental and conservation laws.
“This is within the goal of maintaining a clean, healthy, safe and productive environment for all citizens as stated in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” Mutagamba says.
“With immediate effect the EPF will be deployed in critical locations where degradation has been and is still very intense,” she says
These include Kalidubi in Makindye Saabagabo, Pand Pier in Luzira, Nakawa-Ntinda Junction, Kansanga, Lubigi Nsooba, Nyanama, Nalumunye, Kinawataka, Kimwanyi in Luzira and Walikuba-Loco Wetland in Jinja.
Mutagamba says the same will apply to all Central Forest Reserves.
“I therefore remind all individuals who are currently operating in the above mentioned ecosystems should take note of this exercise and vacate immediately,” she cautions.
“I also urge all of you members of the press to be on the watch out of those degrading and support the EPF in this noble cause.”
Mutagamba says the Ministry is now exploring the possibility of establishing special environmental courts in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs in order to expedite prosecution of environmental cases.
“You may all be aware that the efforts of our general police force to enforce environment legislation have been met with challenges due to the overwhelming demands to keep law and order, and other security needs,” Mutagamba notes.
“The establishment of EPF is therefore a timely intervention through which environment inspectors will directly interface with the EPF to ensure adherence to the environmental laws and good practice,” Mutagamba emphasises.
She says the move is not only the single answer to environmental crimes but is bound to pave way for the creation of an environmentally informed and trained Environment Protection Force able to respond rather that react to non-compliance.
Other responsibilities of the force are to provide timely and coordinated response to environmental law enforcement across all departments and tiers of government and undertake 24-hours environmental surveillance.
EPF will as well detect and investigate environmental crimes and arrest any person who is believed to have committed or is in the process of committing an offence as described in the National Environment Act and other environmental laws.
The Force will further prosecute environmental crimes in conjunction with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Mutagamba says in order to fulfill the above functions, the main focus will be on a number of crimes including encroachment and degradation of wetlands, river banks, lakeshores forest reserves and other ecosystems.
The Force will also crack down on illegal cutting of trees and trade in timber, pollution of land, air and water through unauthorized waste disposal and other actions or omissions and noise pollution and smoking in public places.
KAMPALA COMMAND BASE
EPF has also been empowered to arrest perpetrators of illegal mining and fishing and use of banned materials such as polythene bags.
Mutagamba says EPF will be a field Force taking command from the Regional and District Police Commanders where environment desks will be created respectively.
“To ensure effective coordination, the field officers will report to the Liaison Officers based at National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and National Forestry Authority (NFA) with overall coordination by the overall Commandant Officer based at the Ministry of Water and Environment Headquarters,” Mutagamba says.
“The EPF has, among other communication channels, a dedicated toll free telephone number 0800110011,” she elaborated.
Mutagamba says the process will immediately commence with a training program to induct EPF Officers into the basics of environment management and a clear understanding of the environmental laws.