I read the article “Speaker asks Nema to relocate invading birds from Parliament” in the New vision of September 25 and felt very sad. As an environmentalist, I should have a say on this.
The statement read that when Parliament remodeled its gardens and beautified it with leafy trees, which to me was a good gesture, to the nation little did they know that the homeless birds in Kampala would turn them into their home, one by one the marabou storks and hundreds of white cattle Egret built their nests on the trees.
Now if we go to the basics, the Parliament is the arm of government that makes laws to protect the environment and I thought they could be exemplary by showing the nation what it takes to live in harmony with nature. This is because the birds are equally important as humans.
With the alarming rate of destruction of our environment that has been worsened by the impact of climate change, nature has been affected most and is in dire need of restoration.
To me, the claim by members and staff of Parliament that the birds affect their health through increasing stench is not realistic.
Instead, we should appreciate the fact that birds like Marabou stork clean our environment by getting rid of the garbage in the city, something that parliamentarians have failed to deal with for reasons best known to them.
When shall we change our attitude towards the protection of the environment? Protecting and caring for the environment is one of the ways we shall realise sustainable development and we cannot do this if we do not live in harmony with nature.
If I may ask, Makerere University houses a big number of these birds, but have you ever heard of the administration there talking of relocating or destroying the birds? Not at all. This is because they have learned to appreciate and live in harmony with nature and so should our parliamentarians.
It is a shame that the very people who are supposed to legislate in the interest of protecting the environment, are the very ones letting us down. Therefore, there should be a deliberate move by Uganda Wildlife Authority and Nema to sensitise the Parliament community about the need for environmental conservation.
I propose that the birds should be left to stay in the city because this is their home. It is the Parliament chambers that should instead be relocated to some other place. Then Members of Parliament should be required to observe the Standard Operating Procedures or presidential directives on Covid-19 as is the norm today.
Indeed, the presence of nature such as birds is indicative of a healthy environment. Therefore, it is people who should be relocated, not nature. It is through human activities that we have systematically destroyed the environment, leaving nature, including birds, without a habitat.