Environment watchers want biomass use ended
Posted Thursday, January 17 2013 at 02:50
Climate change. The activists say besides depleting the forest resources, the use of charcoal and firewood poses a great health risk.
Environmentalists have asked the government to provide alternative sources of energy to reduce the high dependency on biomass energy for cooking, which has continued to fuel forest degradation.
Several documented reports have linked dependency on biomass (firewood and charcoal) to climate change since it fuels deforestation.
Speaking at the launch of the Lake Victoria Climate Change Readiness Brief Number One in Kampala yesterday, the national coordinator for the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project, Mr David Mwayafu, said having other options such as electricity, solar and gas would help communities access clean air.
“Most of the energy sources, especially the biomass when burnt, release carbon which gets locked up in trees, then back into the atmosphere, hence contributing to climate change by producing carbon dioxide,” Mr Mwayafu said.
Environmental experts say by making alternative energy sources affordable, people will shift from depending on biomass, which will eventually result in reduction on the impacts of climate change.
According to the Lake Victoria Climate Change Readiness Brief, only four per cent of the population in the region has access to gas, kerosene and electricity, while 78 per cent depend on firewood and 18 per cent on charcoal for cooking.
The report also shows that the rate of using charcoal is increasing partly due to population growth, yet the rate of adopting improved charcoal stoves, which use less charcoal, remains at nine per cent.
The report adds that this exposes women and children to indoor pollution and respiratory infections.
Mr Richard Kimbowa, an official from the Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development, blamed poverty for the low use of cleaner energy sources.