In many areas across the globe, earth systems have been overrun by human activities, causing environmental degradation around the globe. The rate at which Planet Earth is being degraded on a daily basis is exponentially life threatening.
In Bushenyi district, South Western Uganda, environmental degradation especially in wetlands, has gone to another level. Human activities have in the last three years pushed wetlands and other protected areas to destruction mode especially in the sub counties of Kyamuhunga, Kyeizooba, Nyabubare and the central division in Bushenyi-ishaka municipality.
The status quo has caused authorities in the district to employ possible means of conserving and restoring wetlands. The drive has been kick-started by the Office of the area Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr. Jolly Tibemanya in conjunction with Uganda Citizen Alliance (UCA)
A committee composed of Bushenyi District local government officials, police, environmental conservation ambassadors, and the media, has been formed, calling for an urgent attention to address the environmental degradation challenge.
Chaired by the RDC, the committee is expected to push for urgent response to the alarming degradation of wetlands around the district with police at the forefront.
Monthly spot check inspections will be carried out in most affected areas to stop the ongoing degradation of wetlands, hold interactions with encroachers and guide them sustainable use of wetlands and other protected areas.
“We will embark on inspections of these affected areas and talk to the encroachers first. If they refuse to comply, we will arrest and charge them.” said Mr. Tibemanya
Important to note, the officials want legislation on tree planting, with Parliament making a law that directs Ugandans on planned tree planting for purposes of environmental protection and conservation.
According to Hajji Yasin Bilaali, an environmental conservation ambassador, eucalyptus trees absorb huge volumes of water on a daily basis and if not replaced with favorable species, the eucalyptus type will play a big role in causing desertification.
“Scientists have warned that the Sahara desert is moving towards our direction. We must check which tree species we plant because taking an example, one eucalyptus tree consumes eleven liters of water per day. We must regulate this. Parliament should come to our rescue and put in place a law on tree planting,” he expressed.
Legislation starts at local government level with institution of bi-laws to guide the population according to the Resident District Commissioner.
Also, according to the officials, the committee will fast-track involvement of different stakeholders so that environmental conservation awareness messages can reach all people.
The implementation of the agreed action points remains hard because the officials have not enough resources, a challenge that has frustrated other efforts geared towards environmental conservation at local and national level.
Bushenyi district local government environment office has been getting allocated less than five million Uganda shillings per financial year for the last four years, and has no field vehicle as revealed by Mr. Vincent Kataate, the district environment officer, adding that lack of funding has curtailed his work.
The RDC says, they are planning sourcing strategies with the help of Uganda Citizens Alliance. By this, the group will identify potential partners to fund the activities so that listed action points can be achieved for a sustainable environment.