UGANDA – Uganda’s environment regulator the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has shut down operations at Busia Sugar and Allied Factory Limited for discharging its waste into River Malaba.

NEMA’s visit and subsequent closure of the company comes after leaders from Tororo and Busia districts raised alarm over the pollution of River Malaba

The district leaders and residents present during the exercise noted that the factory continues to dispose off wastes in the nearby swamps blocking residents from practicing fish farming.

According to reports, Busia Sugar’s illegal disposal of waste into River Malaba affected residents living in Buteba parish of Buteba sub-county, Chawo parish in Busitema sub-county all in the Busia district.

The environmental impact of its activities is also reported to have affected residents of the Iyolwa sub-county in Tororo, and Tororo municipality who joined their counterparts from Busia in witnessing the factory’s closure.

On his part, John Okoro, the Location 1 secretary of Manakor C village revealed they have lost over fifty cows as a result of drinking contaminated water in the swamps of river Malaba.

Evelyne Aol, the Tororo district environmental officer expressed displeasure that factory management is destroying the life and natural resources in the area.

“There’s a need for factory management to obey the rules that govern environmental conservation,” she opined.

Patrick Arapayi, and Janet Alungat all residents of Manakor ‘C ‘village, claimed that the factory management always uses underground pipes to channel wastes directly into the river waters and others in the swamp.

According to NEMA, the sugar company lacked proper waste management forcing it to channel its waste to the river causing contamination of water used for domestic purposes.

NEMA also revealed that the sugar manufacturer had failed to comply with environmental impact and assessment requirements thus warranting its closure.

“They have failed to manage their drainage system. They are sending wasters into the river, polluting the environment and affecting the people who depend on the water for drinking and washing,” Lupenga noted.

The regulator also noted increased cases of deaths of aquatic animals, and livestock and a rise in skin disease among residents who consume water from the river in Tororo and Busia districts as some of the consequence’s of the factory’s activities.