By Guest Writer
Opinion: The recent catastrophic flooding in Kampala has highlighted the urgent need to re-evaluate the out-of-control development and construction within the city.
As the city struggles with the effects of uncontrolled urban expansion, lives have been lost and livelihoods have been affected.
Kampala, which was formerly endowed by nature, could withstand heavy downpours and their effects; however, due to increased urbanization, the city’s natural capacity to absorb and handle severe rainfall has been compromised by the uncontrolled removal of trees for buildings and the encroachment of wetlands.
We are currently dealing with severe repercussions, including the loss of life and property.
According to recent accounts, flooding claimed the lives of about five Ugandans within a single week. These terrible events serve as a sobering reminder of the dangers that people who live in low-lying areas or close to streams must contend with. Storm-related abrupt flooding poses very serious risks, so it is our responsibility to put everyone’s safety and well-being first.
The recommendations made by the police spokesperson, Mr. Enang, to those who live in vulnerable regions to exercise caution and think about moving as water levels rise are a positive step. However, we need to move beyond personal accountability and deal with the underlying issue. We must act proactively to lessen the effects of a changing climate in addition to adapting to it.
Kampala is fortunate to have wetlands that were created by nature to reduce flooding. However, constant expansion has jeopardized these vital ecosystems.
To preserve what is left of these essential wetlands, we must immediately suspend all construction within Kampala city. We should prioritize protecting our natural heritage over pursuing quick financial rewards from development projects.
We want the government to prioritize Ugandans’ lives. Always place our citizens’ safety and welfare as the top priority. We must carefully consider the impact on the environment and give priority to the preservation of natural resources before moving forward with any additional infrastructure development.
By educating Ugandans about the value of preserving our essential ecosystems, we may begin to bring about long-lasting change. The importance of sustainable development and care for the environment should be emphasized in our educational system. We can only expect to develop a society that values its natural heritage by imparting these values to future generations.
The severe floods in Kampala have forced a decision in the city. We may either prioritize the safety and well-being of our population by maintaining our natural wetlands and forests, or we can continue along the path of unregulated growth, endangering more lives and ecological destruction.
Acting is best done right away. We demand the Ugandan government, KCCA, and the President of Uganda to listen to our warning and put a stop to any additional building within Kampala city. Protecting the ecosystems of our city will also safeguard the lives and futures of all Ugandans.
The author is Babirye Jemimah Kasibbo, an advocacy associate at Citizen Concern Africa.
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