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Sand Harvestings’ Dire Impact on Uganda’s Rivers and Aquatic Life

Sand at the Seroma mining company quarry comes from the Lwera wetland, an area near Lake Victoria that is a key ecosystem. It is a breeding ground for fish, serves as a stop for migratory birds and can store vast amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide underground. The wetland stretches more than 20 kilometres astride the highway from the Ugandan capital Kampala. Sand mining is a big business, with 50 billion tons used globally each year, the United Nations Environment Programme said in a report last year. It warned that the industry is “largely ungoverned,” leading to erosion, flooding, saltier aquifers and the collapse of coastal defences. Healthy wetlands can help control local climate and flood risk, according to UNEP.