The Senior Presidential Advisor on Security and Defense Gen. Salim Saleh has backed the excavation of sand from lakes saying Uganda has no choice if it's to embrace industrialization.
Recently leaders and Environmentalists led by Wakiso District Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika accused Chinese companies of degrading the Lake Victoria while excavating sand. There has been a similar outcry from Masaka where Chinese firms were accused of degrading wetlands in Lwera along the Kampala-Masaka highway.
Most of this sand is sold to construction sites in Namunkekera Rural Industrial Center in Kapeeka town, Nakaseke district where it will also be used as raw material in making ceramic tiles.
Saleh, who is also chairman of Namunkekera Rural Industrial Center says that the revenue and employment that will be generated from industries being constructed using the sand outweigh the environmental concerns raised.
He, however, notes that area politicians have delayed the activities which have also paralyzed construction of industries in the Industrial center adding that Uganda must make a painful choice to either allow sand mining to facilitate industrialization or allow its citizens remain jobless.
Last year, Wakiso district leaders and NEMA blocked Mango Tree Group from excavating sand in Kawuku and Katabi on grounds that the company's activities had a negative impact on the eco-system of the lake shores. The company officials have since camped at General Saleh's home in Kapeeka asking him to intervene and ask government to allow them to proceed with their activities.