Army starts mass tree planting in oil region

The General Manager of Luweero Industries Limited, Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi (in uniform), participates in the tree-planting drive at the oil and gas treatment and disposal plant in Kikuube District on January 20.  PHOTO/JANE NAFULA

What you need to know:

The army embarked on the exercise as one of the ways to conserve the environment.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), in partnership with Luweero Industries Limited (LIL), a subsidiary of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), have embarked on a tree-planting drive with in the on-shore Kingfisher oil field, run by CNOOC, a Chinese company in Kyangwali sub-County, Kikuube District.

 This is part of its strategy to counter the possible effects of oil exploration on the environment.

The General Manager of Luweero Industries Limited (LIL), Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi, told journalists on January 20 that they had partnered with NEC, the business arm of the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, to plant trees and also establish an oil and gas waste treatment and disposal centre in the area.

 “National Forestry Authority (NFA) has given us 1,000 trees to start with, but our target is to plant 20,000 in two years but, we can achieve this faster,” Maj Gen Muzeyi said, adding: “Trees are like lungs in a different way. The lungs get oxygen and channel out carbon dioxide, trees, on the other hand, absorb carbon dioxide and channel out oxygen that we need to live. The trees will be essential in reducing carbon in this area,’’  Maj. Gen Muzeyi said.

Last Tuesday, President Museveni commissioned the commencement of drilling works for the Kingfisher oil field in Kikuube.

The development came 17 years after Uganda declared that her oil deposits are commercially viable.

But environmentalists have opposed the oil and gas projects.

However, Maj Gen Muzeyi  said measures have been put in place to deal with such challenges.

 He added: “NEC in partnership with Luweero Industries Limited and HBP, a Chinese Company that specialises in oil waste management, have set up  facilities to manage, treat and dispose of solid and liquid waste from drilling of crude oil from King fisher Oil field,” he said.

 Mr Abert Kato, one of the site engineers, explained that the oil and gas treatment and disposal facility will treat at least three tonnes of waste per hour.

Mr Stuart Maniragura, the director of plantations development at NFA, said every Ugandan should plant trees. NFA wants to hit the  target of ensuring that at least 40 million trees are planted every year.

“Cosnervation is very critical in the oil and gas sector and planting trees will enable us drill the oil and prosper the country,”  Mr Maniragura said.

The Resident District Commissioner of  Kikuube,  Mr Amlan Tumusiime, commended the army on the initiative.

He said  125 of the 186 project affected persons have been compensated.