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Victoria Falls, Zambia from the air.

Items from Zambia by Gill Staden

Some of many items by Dr. Thome

Conservation or Exploration?

The Ugandan cabinet has last week agreed to form a specialised unit within the Uganda Police, dealing entirely with environmental matters and violations of NEMA orders. The new unit will comprise specially trained personnel and likely find members of the conservation fraternity drafted into the force, either on a permanent or an ad hoc basis. Word has it that initially about 150 staff will be used and that one of their priorities will be encroachment of wetlands and illegal occupation of forests, where in particular last year logging has caused extensive damage to forest areas. The news should send chills down the spines of serial environmental offenders, like flower farms which are aggressively expanding into wetlands and swamps, or illegal loggers, as they are now more likely to be nabbed, caught red handed and chances for a successful prosecution are better as the evidence gathered by the new unit can hold up in courts of law. Well done Uganda, a good start for the environment in 2010
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Following the recent repeated stalling of the ferries across the Likoni channel, which link the southern mainland with the island of Mombasa, has the tourism industry at the Kenyan coast once more demanded that government immediately embark on constructing a road, which would link the airport of Mombasa, and the main highway from Nairobi directly to the south coast.

'Tourism depends on this link, when the ferries fail tourists cannot reach the airport and miss their flights and arriving tourists start their holiday with a big disappointment, taking up to half a day to reach their hotels' said one source to this correspondent, then adding: 'even coast residents are affected, business comes to a standstill, supplies do not reach, students miss classes, workers fail to report on duty! This has been going on for too long and it is high time government comes to our rescue now and build a reliable road. Even when the new ferries come in a few months, the ferry company will mess that up too, so our only hope is a road'.

Leading representatives of the coastal tourism industry also met reportedly last week to discuss this issue and also called for a strengthened disaster response team to be established, probably in the light of the present tragedy in Haiti, to be prepared for any sort of accidents connected to industry, port or aviation and not rely only on foreign assistance should disaster strike. MORE ITEMS