Is conservation a matter of scenic beauty or survival?

Author, Solomon A. Mutagaya. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

“ ..there is a need for hygiene in the country’s environmental conservation methodologies  

By virtue of its design, environmental conservation should be a practice of humans saving the environment from loss of its integrity, its species and from all elements that would rather cause utter destruction unto the ecosystem, man himself being inclusive. 
Water availability being an immediate yield of proper environmental conservation mechanisms in place, one cannot stress enough that water quantity and quality are so critical in the journey of economic transformation and poverty reduction in Uganda. 

This is from a point of view that, in as much as agriculture is considered the most water intensive sector, most water intensive products are rather from manufacturing. Since it requires 15.9 percent of direct non energy water use, as much as 41.2 percent of the final non energy water use is within manufactured products.
 As briefly highlighted in the Water and Environment Sector Budget Framework Paper of Financial Year 2018/2019 – to Financial Year 2022/2023. Not to mention that the water resource is key in hydroelectricity generation. 
Over the years, the Ugandan government has formulated laws and policies in its bid to regulate land use and environmental impacts. 

However, like in many other areas, the chief concern when it comes to Ugandan Environmental Conservation, is not in the lack of supporting laws nor absence of existing polices, it is in the reality of their ground implementation. Great policies succumbing to the non-implementation cloud. In essence, the best measure of environmental conservation of a country lies in, how far it is willing to go, in regulation of land use and environment against any human odoriferous activity unto the ecosystem. 

And even more radically, the environment ought to be saved from the very man himself, going beyond his mere need of sensational scenic beauty. Whilst the governing principle being, reduce, reuse and recycle.
In his 2009 research paper titled “How Effective are Uganda’s Environmental Policies,” Morrison Rwakakamba, the current board chairman of Uganda Investment Authority, noted an increasing rate of encroachment upon natural resources, water catchment areas in particular. 

Mr Rwakakamba pointed to a likelihood of an exceedingly high growth in the rate of depletion of catchment areas despite the government’s ownership of a whopping 80 percent of all water catchment areas in the selected districts of the study. 
His research tempted a conclusion that for Uganda, environmental conservation is no longer just a matter of scenic beauty but a question of economic survival for both households and the nation. 
Moving forward therefore, there is a need for hygiene in the country’s environmental conservation methodologies. 

To bridge the glaring gaps within, but to also focus on restoration of forests and wetlands through sensitisation of masses against environmental degradation, encroachment and need to restore deleted ones. 
It is also important that the country motivates communities that are doing better through incentives and prizes to cultivate habits of environmental salvation.
Existing laws and policies should also be emphasised and all encroachers penalised regardless of their strategic political or social positions.
 
As the corruption issue should also be looked into since it does a lot  crippling the environmental efforts.  Environmental conservation drive in Uganda should no longer  be considered just a matter of scenic beauty but perceived as a question of economic survival for both households and the nation. 

Solomon A. Mutagaya ― chemical engineer, quality assurance engineer at KCL Group 
 

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