Residents of Mbale found guilty of wantonly cutting down trees will be required to pay a fine of half a million shillings.
The fine is part of proposals by the Mbale Municipal Council to curb the increasing environmental degradation in the district.
Abdullah Kutosi, Speaker of the municipal council, says the deforestation in Mbale has had serious environmental impacts. He says research has shown that the soil fertility of the mountainous region has declined because of massive soil erosion and landslides are increasingly common because of the loose soil.
Kutosi admits that government and district officials have been lax in enforcing laws on environmental conservation, particularly on tree planting and the ban on polythene bags. He says the proposed amendments will increase the punitive measures against the destruction of the environment and act as a deterrent to the general public.