Environmental Sector

Lira District is well endowed with environmental resources suitable for a productive economy. The relationship between environment and the economy is a complex and crucial concern today. The district is covered by Savanna Vegatation dominated by combretum spp, Acacia spp, Termmalia and Butyspernum paradoxicum. The dominant grass is the hypharrehia spp. Population increase continue to exert substantial pressure on the woodland gradually changing it to grassland as the woody component get extracted for fuel-wood, opening for agriculture and settlement.
The district is not well endowed with both surface and ground water resources. The only available surface water is from Moroto wetland system and the existing network of other permanent and seasonal wetlands in the district. The surface water continues to provide water for a wide range of uses to the rural communities. The water supply in the district is being supplemented by piped water from Lake Kwania (abstracted from Kachung in Dokolo District) and is being consumed in Lira Town. Additional supply of safe water to communities in the district is from extraction of ground water through the use of boreholes and shallow wells, more pronounced in areas where IDPs lived (former concentration camps). The wetlands in the district is categorised into Okole, Moroto, and Olweny Wetlands Systems.
The wetlands continue to be under threats due to increasing population and the need for more land for agriculture, settlement, small scale industries and urbanization amongst others. The continuous degradation of wetlands in the district continues to pose a threat to availability of safe water for domestic use and increased cost for road construction at wetland crossings. Degradation of seasonal wetlands continues to affect the seasonal breeding of crested cranes, whose number has continued to go down due to habitat loss. There is also fear that this localized action is also contributing to global climatic change.
Sanitation coverage in the district is still low since many homes do not have latrines, bath shelters, drying stands, rubbish pits and kitchen. Waste disposal (solid and liquid) methods and habits are still very poor and the communities continue to dispose wastes in a manner that is harmful to the environment most especially for vuvera and effluent from small scale industries around Lira Municipal Council. Lira Municipality has just constructed a solid waste disposal and compositing site in Aler Farm and has just be operationalized with financial support from world Bank through the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).This is expected to give a direction for proper waste management in Lira municipal council.
The district does not have significant wildlife endowment. There are no large animals in the district although there are occasional reported cases of buffaloes and Lion that cross in to the district from the Kidepo valley National Parks. The small animals available include the velvet monkeys, edible rats, wild rabbits and the sitatungas in fringe forests around wetlands. The district has a number of both wetlands and terrestrial birds often hunted by young boys using catapults.

Environmental resources Endowment of Lira District

No Environmental resource Quantity Remarks
1 Wetlands systems 3 Consist of Okole, Olweny and Moroto wetland systems
2 Forest Reserves 7 Total coverage is 1001 hectares
3 Lakes 0
4 Moroto 1
5 Hills 7 Found in the sub counties of Aromo, Agweng, Ogur,
Ngetta and Adekokwok

Investment Plan
The Environment sector continues to mainstream Environmental issues in the development plans both at the District and Sub county levels. The sector will also embark on the production and updating of the sub county Environment Action Plans to be integrated in the Development plans of the Districts and respective sub counties. The District also continues to strive to mobilse funds for the preparation of the District Wetlands Ordinance. The ordinance is meant to bridge the gap in the environment laws that are spread within the various sectoral laws and are quite difficult to enforce.
Environmental awareness campaigns continue to be implemented at various levels and using various meant that includes radios; community outreaches, workshops, seminars amongst others.
Ecosystems approach to management continues to be used to manage the wetlands and forest reserves including those on public lands.

POCC Analysis
Potential
– Established District Environment Office
– The District and other Local Environment Committees are in place
– Strong political willingness for environmental conservation
– Power in the hand of District politicians to plan for environmental conservation under decentralization policy
– A number of Environment policies, laws, regulations and guidelines are in place to regulate access to and the use of environmental resources

Opportunities
– Government continues to recognize the linkages between sustainable development and environmental conservation.
– More NGOs, UN Agencies and CBOs are becoming active in areas of environmental conservation
– Up to 6 Local FM radios and 2 TV stations exist that could be used to reach out to communities with environmental conservation messages.
– integrate environment in the school curriculum
– Mainstream environmental issues in all plans, policies, and programmes to be implemented in the district
Challenges
– Low understanding of the linkage between environmental conservation and sustainable development by local communities.
– Not enough environmental literature is readily available
– Low prioritization and financial support for environmental conservation
– Lack of income generating activities and alternatives for local communities attributed to looming poverty
– Few staff to guide communities on environmental matters.
Constraints
– Population increase continue to put pressure on the existing environmental resources
– Lack of alternative sources of livelihood and income generating activities makes communities completely dependent on exploiting environmental resources.
– Political influence makes communities continue to degrade environmental resources especially forest reserves and wetlands.
– Global climatic change continue to have negative impact on the status of environmental resources

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