Kampala- As the world marks the International Day of Biological Diversity today, rapid population growth has been cited as a major threat to survival of biodiversity in the country.
This year’s theme is dedicated to island biodiversity and mainly focuses on how island states can conserve biodiversity.
May 22 was proclaimed international day of biodiversity to increase understanding and awareness on biodiversity. It was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in late 1993.
“Rapid population growth is a threat to the survival of islands in Uganda because they act as habitats to a large part of the population and if they are not well managed, they pose a threat to the biodiversity,” said Mr Sabino Francis Ogwal, a natural resources management specialist at the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).
Mr Ogwal added that the day does not eliminate Uganda, it not being an island state, because the country has Islands districts like Kalangala with a perimeter of 387km.
“If the forests, swamps, island shores are not well managed by the people occupying them, they are at a high risk of adverse impacts of climate change like increase in water levels and floods” said Mr Ogwal said, citing Haiti, Japan and Philippines as countries which have suffered from effects of climate change.
According to Mr Ogwal, biodiversity in simpler terms is a variety of livings things, but in scientific form it’s categorised as species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity. The spices include animal and plant kingdoms whereas genetics are the inherited materials that account for the differences in living things.
“NEMA and other government agencies have embarked on creating awareness on biodiversity and creating capacity to ensure sustainable survival of biodiversity,” said Mr Ogwal.
However, he warns that unregulated fishing and other activities in guise of island developers are likely to deplete the islands through land degradation, overfishing and deforestation.