Chemicals and chemical waste in the extractive sector pose a great risk to miners, communities around mining areas and the environment. Large swaps of land near mining areas are often degraded; miners and communities nearby develop health problems but may not immediately associate their health problems with the effects of mining processes.
NAPE carried out an investigation to assess the levels of awareness on harmful aspects of chemicals and chemicals waste and how workers in mines, the communities and the environment were being protected from such harm. This report reveals the reality in selected artisanal mines in Uganda.
The 2014 Trafficking in Persons report by the US Department of State placed Uganda as a source, transit and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking.
sssgAlthough human trafficking is not new, it’s only just receiving official attention from the government. Recently, Gender minister Mary Karooro Okurut claimed Ugandan girls and women working abroad illegally were being sodomised and forced to breastfeed dogs.
Pope Francis said he is convinced that global warming is “mostly” man-made and that he hopes his upcoming encyclical on the environment will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris to make “courageous” decisions to protect God’s creation.
Francis has spoken out frequently about the “culture of waste” that has imperiled the environment and he elaborated en route to the Philippines. While there, Francis will meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which the government has said was an example of the extreme weather conditions that global warming has wrought.
“I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” he said. “We have in a sense taken over nature.”
“I think we have exploited nature too much,” Francis said, citing deforestation and monoculture. “Thanks be to God that today there are voices, so many people who are speaking out about it.”
Francis, who pledged on the day of his installation as pope to make the environment a priority, said he expected his encyclical on ecology to be released by June or July. He said he wanted it out in plenty of time to be read and absorbed before the next round of climate change negotiations opens in Paris in November after the last round in Lima, Peru, failed to reach an agreement.
The quality of water in Lake Victoria especially in Kalangala, Masaka, Buvuma, Entebbe and Mpigi has deteriorated due to pollution. This was revealed by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) programme officer, Mr David Kureeba, during an interview with the Daily Monitor last Tuesday.
He said the colour of the lake has changed as the water now has a florescence-like substance which hinders the development and growth of the natural ecosystem.
“If we continue to do nothing about it, we shall have almost all natural resources within the country spoilt. Our main prayer is for the government to regulate companies that have established big factories near the water to be more conscious about pollution and stop dumping their waste into the water,” Mr Kureeba said.
Government of Uganda plans to amend the Mining Act 2001 to allow intending investors in the mining industry to access private land that contains minerals without negotiating with the land owners. Currently, investors seeking mining business have to obtain consent of the private owners of the land where mineral deposits exist.
This law amendment comes at the height of vast discoveries of different minerals deposits across the country. If this law is passed, many Ugandans will be landless, poor and destitute in their own country. Yet the objective of Africa Mining Vision and Country Mining Vision is to transform extractives to improve livelihoods and industrialisation.