By Guest Writer
OPINION: Editor, Uganda is preparing to be part of the World Environmental Day celebrations on June 5th, 2023, which will aim to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment.
The country needs to do a lot of environmental activities to ensure that ecosystems are conserved, drastic climate change is mitigated, and the goals for World Environment Day celebrations are achieved as well.
In the world and Uganda at large, environmental problems are increasing every other day because of the limited environmental conservation activities implemented by the country, including the failure by environmental authorities and the sister agencies to implement the environmental laws required in the constitution of Uganda, the failure to sensitize the public about the dangers of destroying the environment, the throwing of plastics anyhow, corruption by people heading environmental offices, and limited budgets for facilitating environmental conservation activities.
It is noted that the country has been putting in place some very good actions to overcome environmental degradation, such as the five-year Nature Recovery Plan and the National Environment Bill 2017 passed by Parliament aiming at burning plastics and polythene bags, but they failed totally to work in Uganda because of corruption by environmental authorities,negligence by the authorities to implement the available measures, failure by the environmental authorities to sensitize the public about the importance of protecting biodiversity, and others.
To make the World Environment Day message achievable by the local people, the environmental authorities and the country at large need to do a lot of environmental activities to ensure that the environment is conserved and the drastic climate change problems are addressed.
The country also needs to ensure that the existing environmental laws are strengthened and enforced against all Ugandans who throw plastic and destroy the environment.
Recycling of plastics should be encouraged and supported, as should supporting the small-scale initiatives dealing with buying plastics to ensure that they have finished them.
Heavy penalties need to be put in place to solve the problem of corruption among the people misusing public offices. Communities engaged in eco-friendly activities and all forests and wetlands need to have boundaries that limit the public from encroaching.
In addition to that, Mr. President Museveni should extend the Northern ban on charcoal burning as a business to other places with critical eco-systems under big pressure from encroachers carrying out human activities such as charcoal burning, timber logging, agriculture activities, and others. The first priority should be given to the Bugoma Forest Reserve, which is under big threat from encroachers and others.
I call on the president of Uganda and environmental authorities to implement the above-mentioned environmental activities to achieve the theme of World Environment Day.
The author is Kato Paul, a research associate and environmental activist.
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