The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has suspended the operations of Busia Sugar and Allied Factory Limited due to its inadequate waste management practices. NEMA found that the factory failed to properly manage its waste, leading to the contamination of River Malaba, which serves as a water source for local communities.
Amos Lapenga, Chairman and leader of the NEMA team conducting the operation, expressed concern that the factory did not adhere to environmental impact and assessment requirements. He highlighted that the factory’s improper drainage system had been discharging waste into the river, causing environmental pollution and negatively affecting residents who rely on the river for drinking water and other daily activities.
Lapenga further noted that this pollution has resulted in the deaths of aquatic life, harm to livestock, and an increase in skin diseases among affected residents.
Accompanied by NEMA officials, including Eng. Yorokamu Katwiremu, as well as Tororo district environment officers and district leaders, Lapenga emphasized that the situation at the Busia factory posed a significant risk to the community’s well-being.
NEMA’s decision to suspend the factory’s operations comes in response to concerns raised by leaders from Busia and Tororo districts, as well as local residents, regarding the pollution of River Malaba. These concerns also extended to noise pollution and dust generated by factories within the Tororo district, which have been impacting the community’s quality of life.
During their visit, the NEMA team also inspected Tororo Cement, Simba Cement, and Home Cement. Simba Cement Factory was issued a 21-day ultimatum to reduce noise pollution.
Eng. Yorokamu Katwiremu, a NEMA board member, stated, “We have given them 21 days to address the challenge of noise pollution and dust. People may ignore the environment, but the consequences will eventually affect us all.” He called on local councils and town councils to take a proactive role in combating environmental issues.
Katwiremu explained that the crackdown on factories with improper waste disposal, air pollution, and dust in Tororo is part of an initiative led by Dr. Yahaya Akankwasa, the Executive Director of NEMA, aiming to maintain a clean environment.
John Okea, the Tororo district LCV chairman, revealed that local government leaders had been raising concerns with the factory management for the past three years regarding the need for improved waste management. Unfortunately, their efforts went unanswered.
Rosemary Achola, a 56-year-old resident of Manakor C village, shared her plight, stating that due to the contaminated water from the swamps of River Malaba, they lost over 70 cows. She called for NEMA officials to take action, emphasizing the urgent need for the factory to improve its waste disposal practices.