Parliament’ Committee on Natural Resources has announced a temporary ban on sand mining activities of ten sand mining companies in Lwera Wetland in Kalungu district along the Kampala-Masaka highway.

In its earlier investigations, Parliaments Natural Resources Committee established that whereas wetland or lake permits had been issued to allow for fish farming, sites were instead being used for sand mining.

The ban follows perceived illegal activity where over 10 companies which obtained licenses into fish farming instead diverted into sand mining.

Committee Chairperson Alex Byarugaba (NRM-Isingiro South) has told journalists at parliament today that the ban takes immediate implementation in Mpigi Kalungu and Wakiso districts awaiting fresh verification from the National Environment Management Authority.

Mr Byarugaba also notes that sand mining in Lwera is blocking the smooth flow of water and thus risking the Kampala-Masaka highway with impending floods.

So far, according to Ayazika Waiswa, the Nema environment monitoring and compliance director, the mining companies in the areas have contravened their license obligations.

Most of the sand companies, according to Waiswa are scooping sand 12 meters underneath instead of the recommended three meters which enables easy regeneration of the resource.

“Through our routine inspections, we came and stopped them [sand miners] but later, our officers withdrew due to financial constraints and they [miners] came back,” Waiswa, said during a Nema board inspection recently.

Recently, torrential rains caused flooding in the same area displacing more than 500 residences in villages like Kamaliba and Kamuwunga in Lukaya Town Council in Kalungu District.

The floods displaced Chinese investors setting up factories. Others like homes, gardens and several sand-mining sites have been submerged by floods triggered off by heavy rains but blamed on lack of catchment to control and store the water.

Dr Wilson Kasolo, a Nema board member says sand mining is creating an ugly topography of the area and although Nema is not against people harnessing the resource, they should do it in a more sustainable manner.