Bukona Agro Processing Limited has released toxic waste into River Ayago killing all the aquatic Animals affecting 68 villages that feed on River Ayago. Is Nile water safe?
NWOYA-UGANDA: Ministry of Water and Environment has suspended the operations of an Indian firm, Bukona Agro Processing Limited following allegations that the industry was releasing chemical toxic in the neighboring River Ayago killing aquatic animals, a top official has confirmed.
Alfred Okot Okidi the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Water and Environment order for the temporary closure of the industry a week ago on grounds that the management of Bukona Processing industry did not follow National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) environmental assessment guidelines.
Okot Okidi says although Bukona Agro Processing Limited food industry early on followed NEMA guidelines, they failed to adopt it when they started to released toxic chemical wastes in to the water that affected 28,684 people in the community who stay along and feed on River Ayago for water consumption.
The authority’s intervention followed complaints from residents regarding pollution of River Ayago.
Jenifer Apiyo Lagweno the Councilor for Disabled Persons Nwoya District says lives of people who uses water sources from River Ayago are at stake and equally aquatic animals also. Many people who eat dead fish that was collected floating in the water suffered stomach complication.
She says about 70 people got infection as result of drinking water, while dozens have been admitted to Anaka Hospital, Jean said.
A team from NEMA’s Lira regional office led by Michael Ikanut confirmed that the factory was indeed undertaking activities that were harmful to the river, generally affecting fish and other aquatic life.
“The water at the spot that was inspected had a pungent smell, a dark colour and the communities were not able to use the water anymore,” said Ikanut.
He also revealed that the authority is investigating claims that some cows had died after drinking water from the contaminated river; and the people who ate the dead fish, developed running stomachs.
“The operations of the facility have been suspended until the factory puts in place an effluent treatment plant approved by NEMA; and secures a discharge permit from the Directorate of Water Resources Management.”
The Nwoya District Environment Office has also been asked to monitor the operations at the premises to ensure environmental compliance.
Bukona Food Industry that deals in processing raw Cassava into spirits early March, 2019 while testing the industry poured chemical waste toxic in River Ayago killing all the animals which feed on the water.
Okello Oryema Chairman LC5 of Nwoya district says there was big mistake from Bukona Agro Processing Limited when they were testing their industry they did not consider the population who use water from the river. But the the Director say the situation is under control, Nwoya District Chairman agued.
“The problems also came as result of slipshod of Ayaa Evelyn Nwoya district Environmental Officer, because when the management of Bukona industry was testing their machine, she was present at that time. What I know the Bukona Processing Limited has met Industry Environmental Assessment when they were putting up Bukona Industry.” Okello Oryema insisted.
Okello Oryema furthermore says Bukona Industry management regrets for the environmental damaged both caused to aquatic animals and poisoning water sources affecting over 26,000 people who live in the 68 villages along River Ayago.
Parviil the Director of Bukona Industry has denied that his industry has never released any chemical wastes into River Ayago, if the fish is dying from the river he does not aware of it. Director refuse wrongful deeds.
Johnson Okello a staff of Nwoya district says the closer of Bukona Agro Processing Limited is politically motivated, NEMA did not consider claims from the management.
“When the industry was constructed the Bukona industry management has taken care of Environmental assessment, what happened industry within.
Water from the river joins River Nile as a tributary and the effect is feared to have affected the Nile waters.
The plant has been barred from emptying its chemical wastes directly into any nearby river but instructed to build a standard waste treatment unit.
Wastes (sludge from processed cassava) from the plant is meant for an animal feeds, pharmaceutical products and fertilizers besides alcohol that is manufactured.