Enforce environmental laws to combat climate change

Patrick K. Kajuma

What you need to know:

  • We hope Parliament and all concerned policy makers can play a formidable role in reversing the already increasing trends.

In the current decade, issues of climate change and health have gained phenomenal attention across the globe because they directly touch humanity’s health and wellbeing. 

Today, humanity is faced with one of the greatest health threats of all time in as far as climate change is concerned affecting both the social and environmental factors of health that include good shelter, safe drinking water, clean air and food hence requiring very quick responses from policy makers, politicians, environmental activists, leaders at all levels of governance and the entire citizenry to try mitigate the health challenges. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that averting the worst health impacts and controlling millions of deaths related to climate change would require limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C. Anything above 1.5°C does not create conditions to safety of any human life. 

And because man’s activities in this fourth industrial revolution have continued to pollute and plague the environment including deforestation, transport through fuel-fossils smoke plus poor cultivation methods, the effects of climate change are enormous. 

In fact, available global data by WHO shows that the years 2030 and 2050 shall experience severe and devastating climatic changes where approximately five million deaths shall occur due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. 

Associated scientific studies have progressively intimated that increased morbidity and mortality are due to human-induced environmental warming, and more accurately determine the risks plus scale of the health threats we experience. 

Ironically, whereas all of us are prone to these risks, the population whose health shall be harmed first and worst by the climate crisis, are those whose contribution to the causes is least and less likely to protect themselves plus their families against it in the low-income and disadvantaged communities like Uganda. Remember 700 million or 10 percent of the world population still live in extreme abject poverty with no hope of access to the basic human needs such as education, health, access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure. 

Now looking at Uganda, whose health infrastructure development and facilitation is wanting, wouldn’t it be the right time to prepare early and respond to the risks, vulnerabilities and impacts of ever unfolding climatic changes before the situation more than gets out of hand?

Of course that’s why strict enforcement of environmental laws and enough budgetary allocation and appropriation by the executive and Parliament become vital to strengthen and bolster the health care systems, make them much more resilient, remain unassailable and focused towards a voyage to the attainment of the endorsed global sustainable development goals (SDG’s). 

Coupled to this, would be investment in general community awareness, education and sensitisation programmes on radio stations and televisions or workshops that would culminate into an SDG hour or public holiday where everyone would be encouraged to plant a tree as one way of mitigating the effects of climate change and saving the lives for the future generation. 

As most technocrats are aware, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices are sure ways of improving health, specifically through reduced air pollution. 

We hope Parliament and all concerned policy makers can play a formidable role in reversing the already increasing trends of climate change in the highlighted areas. 

In a nutshell, and as advanced by WHO, all climate change decisions in Uganda shall require climate-informed surveillance so that all the early warning signs are identified and response frameworks formulated, but the political-will of the executive and Parliament needs to be triggered too for the rapid response and unison movement towards reduction of climate threats.

Mr Patrick Kajuma is an MPA Scholar at UMI


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.