Recurrent floods around the city cannot be managed by nature based solutions in the current age, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has warned.
Naomi Namara Karekaho, the NEMA spokesperson says besides human activities, the capital’s flooding problem has been exacerbated by an outdated physical plan and topographical challenges.
As such, she says it is not tenable to dwell on wetlands for drainage management any more.
“At the time of planning for the city the drainage system that was in place was efficient. But no major changes have been made. The population is growing, the industries are growing and we need them”, says Namara.
Asked whether industries have played a key part in environmental degradation, she disagreed.
Concerning a number of factories situated in wetlands, she said some like Mukwano industries are as old as Uganda itself. Others, Namara says were given titles after an assessment of environmental consequences.
“For example, Mandela millers is in Lubigi. But when an approval is going to be made in a fragile ecosystem, they make sure that there is no flooding in the area”, she adds.
To solve this problem, Namara says not only should Kampala’s physical infrastructural plan be reviewed but also the city needs to be decongested.
“Deliberately and intentionally invest in drainage systems. Have industries and factories limited to industrial parks”
Last week while responding to parliament, Hon. Benny Namugwanya the State Minister for Kampala blamed developments notably; Meera investments, Mandela Millers ltd and Mukwano industries for backfilling a number of water catchment areas.
Specifically, Meera which was approved by NEMA around 2010/2011 is accused of backfilling 75% of Kinawataka swamp.