The Hoima District Environment Committee officials have confiscated distillation equipment that was used in purifying alcohol into potent gin in a wetland in Bulindi Town Council.
The impounded equipment included plastic drums and jerry cans which contained some already distilled gin while metallic drums were abandoned at the crime scene as the culprits fled arrest.
The impounded items and two Bajaj motorcycles that were found at the crime scene were loaded onto a vehicle to Bulindi police station as exhibits.
Mr Michael Miramira Kyakashari, the Hoima District Environment Committee Chairman cum Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC), said the operation aimed at implementing the presidential directive to rid wetlands of all encroachers so that they can be restored for the protection of biodiversity.
He said in some instances where encroachers were evicted and adhered to the law, restoration has also begun and nature has gone back to its original set up.
The RDC reiterated his warning against anybody intending to encroach or have encroached on wetlands saying they will be arrested, charged and prosecuted.
The Hoima District Local Government Chairman, Mr Benson Rukumba Chiche, urged people to heed to the directive and also follow the law governing the environment since keeping wetlands free from encroachment creates a better environment for human, plant and animal habitation.
He called for vigilance among people to ensure that the environment is not degraded and those who have already done so to vacate the wetlands and allow them to regenerate like other swamps.
Mr Jackson Mulindambuura, the Hoima District Environment Committee Vice Chairman cum Secretary for Production, noted that once wetlands are better protected, they can be a good economic potential to people neighbouring them.
He cited fish farming as an environmentally friendly economic activity that can be done in a wetland with technical advice without harming the ecosystem.
The politician reminded people that wetlands are a natural habitat, breeding ground and food basket for aquatic life including certain species of fish, animals like waterbucks and birds like herons and cranes among others as well as, inter alia, sources of food for human consumption and water for domestic and industrial use.
Ms Joseline Nyangoma, the Hoima District Natural Resources Officer, disclosed that Rivers Kafu and Kahangwe had been most encroached on in Hoima district.
However, she said the encroachers’ adherence to the law after eviction has given wetlands an opportunity to regenerate.
The environmentalist suggested that massive sensitisation campaigns need to be launched educating people about the importance of wetlands to a multiplicity of organisms.