We must save the environment or perish 

What you need to know:

This is not the first time Uganda is facing the challenge of floods and landslides, which claim the lives of many people

More than 20 people have lost their lives in the floods that ravaged Mbale District on Saturday night into Sunday morning.

This is not the first time Uganda is facing the challenge of floods and landslides, which claim the lives of many people.

Oftentimes when it rains in Kampala city, houses in suburbs such as Bwaise are submerged. In October 2020, residents in Ntoroko District were struggling to contain the floods.

Sadly, as this continues to occur little effort is being made to save the situation meaning more people are likely to die in flood and landslide prone areas.

Ironically, we have turned the messages and campaigns about environmental protection and preservation into a short song that is later forgotten.

Even when we have a number of authorities in place mandated by the Constitution to foster these campaigns and cause serious impact  on ground, we are still doing badly in as far as protecting the natural resources is concerned. Nobody seems to be bothered about it, with factories standing in swamps and hotels.

We have a number of laws that could be applied to protect our most treasured natural resources but we instead opt to put alarming pressure on our environment.

Many people countrywide are reclaiming wetlands day and night to put up infrastructure.

President Museveni has now put pressure on Resident District Commissioners to ensure the environment is protected.

However, we need to know that the fight against environmental degradation cannot be championed by the RDCs alone. All Ugandans should first be willing to protect the environment and then the work will be very easy.  Unfortunately, Members of Parliament instead of joining the fight to protect the environment are asking for compensation to the families affected by floods and relocation.

Our legislators are not proposing the permanent solutions that can stop the floods and climate change hazards.

I think our MPs are not aware that some Ugandans are draining swamps and cutting down trees because they’re not sensitized enough about environmental protection.

In the forums I have been in, some NGOs have reported that most people are destroying the environment because of poverty. Ugandans have not yet embraced commercial agriculture so that they can earn some money and also have something to eat. They are still stuck in the traditional way of doing agriculture.

It would be critical for government agencies mandated to protect the environment to also focus on poverty eradication while they save the natural resources.

In areas of Kigezi, especially Kabale when the government announced plans of evicting people from the swamps, verbal protests started. It should, however, be noted that Rubanda District has lost 11 people to floods.

But it is high time we combined efforts as Ugandans to put up a spirited fight against environmental degradation.

We have lost so many people and also picked lessons. Just like Ugandans joined hands in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, we should do the same against environmental degradation.   Natural calamities are the worst pandemic we could suffer as a country especially if they are avoidable.

While people and communities degrade the environment, they should be mindful of the future generations. Our fathers protected the motherland’s natural resources. Why are we doing the contrary? How will our children survive on bare land?

The future generation will never forgive us for bringing them into a world full of nothing but calamities and disasters.

Human selfishness about gathering a lot of wealth should not make us so blind to the extent of forgetting about our own safety and the generations to come.

Religious sects, government agencies, media and all stakeholders should henceforth carry the messages of protecting and preserving the environment. All Ugandans should also join hands and protect the environment or else we shall all perish.

Sam Evidence Orikunda

Deputy RDC Kyenjojo District.

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