The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has blasted the Ministry of Water and Environment for failing to initiate a national action plan on tree planting and environmental conservation.
Kadaga, while launching the Rotary Mission Green Project at the Luzira Prison Headquarters, Tuesday, 15th August, 2017, criticized the Ministry for simply taking part in the Rotary initiative instead of being at the forefront.
“We are all required in our different capacities to ensure that we protect the environment. The Ministry should however, take the lead instead of supporting Rotary,” Kadaga said.
She added that, “we passed the National Forestry Act a while back to help support environmental conservation initiatives; the Act dictated the formation of a Forestry Fund but up to now nothing has been done.”
Responding to a pledge of one million trees made by the Director Environmental Affairs in Ministry, Paul Mafabi, Kadaga said, “You as the Ministry cannot provide only 1 million tree seedlings, that’s a joke. Ethiopia plants 12 million trees a year; we need an action plan that is sustainable from the Ministry.”
The Speaker said there is evidence of escalating incidences of drought around the country.
“Whenever I travel upcountry, I see a lot of sacks of charcoal lying by the roadside and huge trucks ferrying trees and firewood,” she added.
She further noted that the effects of climate change will incite civil strife as the Karimojong disrupted people in Lira.
“People move because of poor produce in the rural areas which has associated problems,” the Speaker said.
The Rotary District Governor 9211, Kenneth Mugisha said that since he assumed office, his signature project has always been the environment.
Mugisha added that the carbon emissions which have increased because of the absence of trees are the number one cause of diseases like cancer.
“We use 90 percent bio mass fuels and this is something we need to rectify. We picked one of the biggest consumers, the Uganda Prisons as one of our partners to try to get them to reduce on their firewood consumption,” he said.
Mugisha said that Rotary hopes to plant 23 million trees in this mission.
He urged the Speaker to prevail on the Ministry of Finance to fund the project because the next cause of strife will be competition for resources.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Johnson Byabashaija said that there are 55,600 inmates in the entire country with a growth rate of 10 percent. He said that wood is used to cook meals for the Prisoners.
“We use about 80,000 tonnes of wood per annum making us one of the biggest destroyers of forests and the environment in general. I need Ushs 2 billion to establish energy saving stoves; this is why I look forward to this partnership and I commit the Uganda Prisons Service,” Byabashaija said
The Commissioner General added that, we shall provide land for tree planting, build efficient stoves and provide labour at a minimal cost. We shall also make nurseries for trees”.
The Speaker promised to the Prisons authority support towards the Ushs 2 billion to construct energy conserving stoves.