Environmental destruction worries minister

Hoima district leaders move to see the level of destruction of River Kafu (Kaborogota) in Buhanika sub-county. (File photo)

Water and Environment Minister, Mr Sam Cheptoris, has expressed worry about environmental degradation saying time to act for nature is fast running out and nature is in emergency mode.

In his statement ahead of the commemoration of the World Environment Day on Sunday, June 5, 2022, the minister said the government is concerned about the loss of forest, wetland and biodiversity covers.  

He said the earth is facing a triple plenary emergency of climate heating up, loss of habitat threatening species with extinction and pollution poisoning air, land and water.

The minister said the way out of the dilemma is to transform Uganda’s economy and society to make them inclusive, fair and more connected with nature and shifting from harming the planet to healing it.

Mr Cheptoris revealed that the government of Uganda has developed a 10-year Environmental Restoration Plan and declared the next 10 years as a war decade for environment restoration.

“The earth we have is our ‘Only Home’ and our survival depends on the way we handle it. Restoration can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction. It will only succeed if everyone plays a part. We are making every effort to reverse forest cover loss, wetland cover loss and biodiversity loss,” Mr Cheptoris said in the statement.

The minister urged environmental degraders to apply the increasingly existing and affordable solutions and technology like stopping encroachment on fragile ecosystems including wetlands, forests, lake shores and river banks and restoring degraded areas to bring balance in ecosystem functions and services.

He also urged people to plant trees, avoid dumping waste in fragile ecosystems and littering, avoid use of environmentally dangerous single use plastics, stop settling and cultivating on steep slopes, avoid encroaching and destroying natural habitats for biodiversity and seek guidance from respective authorities before implementing projects.

“To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, the world must halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 per cent within the decade and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040. We need urgent action to address these pressing issues, making “Only One Earth” and its focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature, as pertinent as ever,” the minister said.

The United Nations General Assembly declared June 5 for the first time during the United Nations Conference on Human Environment and Development in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972 and has been held annually on June 5, 1974.

The day is when each Member State is supposed to reflect on efforts put in place at national level with regards to protection of the environment as well as being the day for the State to reaffirm her commitment to sustainable environmental management.

Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach, promoting progress on the environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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