Members of Parliament on the Committee of Natural Resources has halted mining activities by cement companies in Kapchorwa and Bulambuli districts amid concerns over environmental degradation.
Tororo Cement, Kampala Cement, Simba Cement and Hima Cement have been mining pozzolana, a key ingredient in the manufacture of cement, in Kawowo Sub-county, Kapchorwa District, and in Nabongo Sub-county, Bulambuli District for.
The legislators, who were touring the affected villages of Chekwatit, Chemangala, Kachchela, Nabugimba, Kaboryat and Kapchekukwo, among others in Kawowo Sub-county at the weekend, decried what they described as contamination of water sources by mining activities, something they say has put lives of residents at risk.
Mr Keefa Kiwanuka, the committee chairperson, said the companies should halt their activities until a proper impact assessment is done and affected people compensated.
“What is happening here is very deplorable and as a committee, we have decided that companies that are involved should halt their activities with immediate effect,” he said at Chemangala quarry belonging to Tororo cement over the weekend.
The Committee also promised to summon the regulatory agencies including National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Ministry of Energy to explain the actions they have so taken against the companies.
“It is evident that there has been negligence on part of the authorities that are supposed to regulate the mining activities,” Mr Kiwanuka, said, adding that the plight of the people has not been taken care of by the companies.
He added that they are going to summon the cement factories to the committee so that they can review their licences.
“We are going to summon these companies to the committee to explain why this is ongoing under their watch,” he said.
However, Mr Ohad Kaplan, the operations manager at Chemangala quarry site refuted the allegations, saying they have put in places measures to ensure that there is environmental degradation in the area.
“There is no any degradation taking place here at the site as it being claimed. We have put all measures in place to ensure we keep the environment safe from destruction,” he said.