As the world commemorated World Environment Day on Tuesday, Uganda's environmental police said it has 20 Rwandese in custody over illegal logging and charcoal burning in the central part of the country.
Taire Idwege, Environmental Police Commissioner told Xinhua that it is an ongoing battle to protect the environment which is being destroyed by an increase in human activity in protected areas.
"When we were in Kalangala, we encountered during our operations a number of foreigners, specifically Rwandese who are illegal immigrants. They were busy logging illegally, they were violent and criminal like," said Idwege.
Idwege said the environment protection force has increased patrols and enforcement to end illegal logging, sand mining and illegal dumping among others.
"We are busy carrying out exercises to flush out people who are on some wetlands in places that I am not at liberty to disclose now," said Idwege.
He said the force is increasing the number of its personnel to be able to cater for the increasing number of cases.
"We are doing well in water and environment sector. The ministry (water and environment), NEMA (National Environment Authority) is putting more and more effort. The only challenge has been NFA (National Forestry Authority) where we have challenges in logistics," said Idwege.
Idwege said the force continues to face challenges of finances and logistics.
"We need all actors and stakeholders to come and support us. We need to end illegal logging, charcoal burning, illegal sand mining, illegal dumping, wetland degradation, noise pollution. We need more finances," said Idwege.
According to police figures, 49 environmental-related cases were registered and 145 suspects arrested in 2017.