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NEMA Takes Sting Because Of Genetically Modified Mosquito Plan

NEMA Takes Sting Because Of Genetically Modified Mosquito Plan

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has not yet granted Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) approval to introduce genetically modified mosquitoes.

However, it has only approved the rearing of wild mosquitoes ahead of the planned introduction of genetically modified mosquitoes (GMMs).

“NEMA has not approved the introduction of genetically modified mosquitoes. What NEMA approved in 2017 was the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for an insectary (for rearing mosquitoes),” Nema spokesperson, Mr Tony Achidria said

He further said that the reason UVRI took on this insectary is to build its staff capacity to handle the insects well. This is because before introducing foreign biodiversity, one must be able to contain it.

UVRI’s plan to introduce GMMs has been met with bitter reactions from members of the public and conservationists. Those against the plan say the modified mosquitoes present serious risks to human health and the environment.

Reacting to a May 6 article, UVRI’s top brass said the ongoing engagement with different stakeholders doesn’t mean they are already having GMMs.

“We have no genetically modified mosquitoes now for release,” Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the UVRI director, said.

The UVRI director on Friday told reporters that they are preparing to work on a GMM. He however said, the process hasn’t started yet.

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