Government should prioritize environmental conservation, says Environmental activists

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Government should prioritize environmental conservation, says Environmental activists

Environmental activists in the Greater Masaka region have called upon the government to step up efforts of conserving key environments and natural resources to save the country from diverse negative effects of climate change which is plaguing every sector of the economy.

The resolution to alarm the government was arrived at in the scientific dialogue organized by Action for Sustainable Development Initiative (ASDI), a Civil Society organization in greater Masaka focusing on building resilient communities capable of enforcing compliance of existing environmental and natural resources protection legal frameworks and regulations.

During the scientific dialogue held in Masaka municipality a head of commemoration of 2020 World Environment Day attracted students of Environment Science, Technology and Management, press and few representatives of grassroots conservation initiatives in the region who discussed the current state of nature and climate in Uganda, emerging challenges and effects of climate change mostly in vulnerable communities in the region.

Among the challenges highlighted to be negatively impacting on environmental conservation and mitigation efforts is the failure of government agencies to prioritize environmental protection in its planning, programming, budgeting, this has kept funding of these efforts a last resort at both local and central government.

The Executive Director for ASDI Antonio Kalyango condemned Uganda’s leadership for a wrong perception that environmental issues are not urgent and should be postponed.

“When will the postponement end, the country continue to suffer diverse threats in terms of disasters,’ says Mr Kalyango.

“Worse still the government has not been shaken to take action of safeguarding vulnerable groups of people and communities to build adaptive capacity, he added.”

“The panicking as responsible bodies respond to disasters is useless; We must lay sustainable strategies to address the causes” he said.

Nature is speaking, Listen, this is the country’s localized theme for this year’s celebrations.

ASDI hailed the ministry for this theme and called upon the government to be woken up by the current threats like the flooding of landing sites due to rise of waters in Lake Victoria Basin.

Mr Kalyango planting a tree today

Severe landslides in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Buduuda areas which are all attributable to climate change being facilitated by rampant encroachment on key biodiversity areas.

Currently, all regional landing sites on the shoreline of Lake Victoria in Kalungu, Masaka and Kyotera were conquered by water which forced all residents to vacate and now sustain lives in camps.

Mr Kalyango added that on ASDI team visit to Malembo Landing site in Kyesiiga Sub-county, local leaders attributed the flooding to the cutting of a 20 acres natural forest last year by a business man who turned the area into farmland for pineapple growing.

Shaban Ssebbowa, the LC. 1 Chairperson said the forest used to serve as a catchment area whenever they experienced heavy rains but now they are likely to suffer consequent threats.

As the world commemorates the World Environment Day, environment activists in Greater Masaka continue to arge the government to fight political interference which cripples efforts of line agencies.

Enforcement on those encroaching on sensitive areas should be made universal and effective.

The government has been also called upon to boost efforts of fighting corruption and enhancing budgetary allocations to all responsible bodies mostly local governments to which most of the obligations concerning the environment were devolved.