Extent of public participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study process in Uganda : a case study of Stone Quarries in Kyampisi, Mukono
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Public participation (PP) is an integral part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). PP provides opportunities for public input into the decision-making process. This study assessed the level of public involvement in the EIA study process and the influence of PP on the EIA process of stone quarries in Kyampisi Sub-county, Mukono District. The study used a case descriptive design with quantitative and qualitative methods. It involved 269 primary respondents, two FGDs and nine key informants (KI). Data were collected using structured questionnaires and interview guides, respectively. Results indicated that the majority of the respondents were: females (58%), aged 30-40 years (58%), of primary education level (59%), farmers (71%), with a monthly income of 100001-150000 (42%); and owned more than 1 acre of land (49%). Overall, 91.8% of public respondents were not familiar with the EIA study process; an awareness of the EIA study procedure and affected peoples did not know that it was their right to participate in the EIA study was the least known (81%). All assessed socio-economic factors were significantly associated with the level of EIA process with a land size (X2 =116.15, P<0.001), education level had the most significant impact. There was no use of mass media to disclose information and invite the public for consultation meetings (0%). Overall, public participation in the EIA study was low (40%). Participation in consultation meetings was significantly associated with EIA outcome, and all socio-economic factors other than gender greatly affected EIA outcome. In conclusion, awareness of the EIA study process in Kyampisi is limited. Similarly, the participation of affected people in EIA was also low, resulting in a minimal public influence on the outcomes of the EIA. It is recommended that government agencies or civil society organizations educate the public on the EIA process. Proponents and practitioners should follow the public involvement procedures outlined in the EIA regulations.