NEMA Sued Over Chinese Stone Quarrying Company

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In short
The company is allegedly crashing stones and releasing emissions into the air, an activity that is putting the health of the Mukono residents in danger.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has been dragged to court for allegedly refusing to release information based on to give a go-ahead to a Chinese stone quarrying company. The company is allegedly crashing stones and releasing emissions into the air, an activity that is putting the health of the Mukono residents in danger.
 
The environmental body was sued by a civil society group Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) before Mengo Magistrates Court today.
 
In their suit filed under the Access to Information Act, CEHURD claims to have so far made three requests to NEMA, asking for an environment impact assessment report and the initial environment audit report but in vain.
 
CEHURD adds that the request was made to the stone quarrying company, the China Communications Construction Company about their quarrying activities in the two villages of Bamutakude and Kiryamuli both found in Mukono district.
 
Court documents seen by URN indicate that the information sought by the civil society group and the affected residents where the stone quarrying is taking place, is aimed at guiding the community members on the obligations that NEMA imposed on the Chinese quarrying company.
 
This is so because the area residents in the court suit claim that the quarrying process has greatly affected them negatively as their area is polluted, a lot of noise caused by the crashing of the stones, a lot of dust, the only source of water has also been contaminated, cracks emerging in their houses due to the heavy blasting among other issues raised.
 
The petitioners state in their suit that NEMA has a constitutional and statutory duty to provide information that it is in its possession that is needed by any member of the public or organization in accordance with the law.
 
They cite the Access to Information Act that provides that once a request is made by an individual or company, NEMA or any other organization must avail the requested information within 21 days, a directive that NEMA has not complied with, hence this legal action.
 
Through their lawyers of Kabanda & Co Advocates, the civil society organization wants court to compel NEMA to avail the said vital information.
 
By press time, court was yet to summon NEMA and its Executive Director who are the two respondents in this suit to file their defense before a hearing date can be fixed.