KAMPALA – According to the National Environment Management Authority – NEMA report of 2009, the country has lost a third of its forest cover since 1990.
For Uganda to save her forests, efforts to fight encroachments in such areas should start in government offices that were established to protect the environment in order to trap culprits involved in issuing licenses to perpetrators, Ms. Kemigisha Dora, an environmental advocate in Mukono, said during an interview with PML Daily news publication, meant to find ways of saving the environment.
She notes all incidents of endangering the environment, which includes deforestation, those involved are licenced, bringing a question of who issues such licences.
In his writings in 1908, a British colonialist in Uganda in the early 60s, Sir Churchill Winston, described Uganda to be the “Pearl of Africa. This description was due to the big tree spices in big forests that were estimated to be of 50m hectares, with wild lives that take accommodation in such areas like, primates, birds, reptiles among others.
However, since that description, Uganda continues to lose a third of its flora and fauna, because of public officials who have no love for Mother Nature.
She said, some officials in NEMA and its sister agency NFA work with encroachers, which creates a need to strengthen laws that are put in place to protect the environment, adding, all buildings in foretasted zones and wetlands should be demolished and owners charged in court, without any hesitation.
“There is no way someone can construct a building or farm in such places without NEMA or NFA being aware, this implies that these people are collaborating with some officials in these offices, surprisingly, the laws are there, and we want such laws to be implemented.” She says.
Ms. Kemigisha, went ahead to urge to government not to give up teaching the public about the good of conserving the environment, “When people are knowledgeable about the dangers that could arise from actions of endangering the environment, it will cut short the vice” Ms. Kemigisha urged to government.
According to the 2017 review about forest cover in the country, Uganda’s forest only stands at 9 percent which worries environmental activities in the country.
Mr. Kyekyema Hannington, a researcher on disasters said, disrespecting nature is one of the landslides and flooding that happens in different places in the country, which cannot stop if there is continuous endangering of the environment.
It has come to notice that this occurs because of the need to acquire land for farming food staff to feed the growing population, which causes the demand for wood and charcoal, with establishing areas for accommodation, remaining some of the factors leading to this problem.
In the media briefing, this week at NEMA headquarter in Kampala, the executive director of the agency Dr. Akakwasi Barirage, vowed not to look on when such evils continue to happen on the environment, saying the big fish should be ready.
The Forest Sector in 2020 reported, deforestation that is expected to take place is currently about 70 percent of the total forestland, or about 3.5 percent million hectares, basing to the demand of timber, which is at a rate of 1 percent high of its acceleration
However, the NEMA boss went on to warn about the little funds, which affects the running of the day-to-day activities of this authority, calling upon the government to make an increment on the money given to the authority, to support its budget.
To date, forest and woodland cover in Uganda stands at 49,000 km² or 24 percent of the total land area, of these 9,242.08 km² is tropical rainforest, 350.60 km² are forest plantations and 39,741.02 km² is woodland. 30% of these areas are protected as national parks, wildlife reserves or central forest reserves