The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called out the government on its inadequacy in mitigating the destruction of forests and tree cover around the country, an issue that she believes counteracts any efforts towards tree planting.
She said this while speaking at the launch of the Roots Campaign ahead of the National Day of Tree Planting involving the private sector. The drive is targeting planting more than 200 million trees by 2025.
In its second year running, the Uganda Breweries Limited initiative is targeting planting 40 million trees around the country this year. The campaign commenced with a physical fitness exercise yesterday (Sunday), 21 March 2021 at the Parliament South-Wing Parking Lot.
Ms Kadaga said that much as she hears of initiatives fostering tree planting and the Ministry of Water and Environment recording an increase in tree cover, the country as a whole is yet to realise a substantial restoration of forests.
“The government’s role here is sometimes questionable; for example, I have heard Ministers being involved in the move to reclaim the Budongo Rainforest, one of the biggest in the country and, a move I find counterintuitive given the status-quo,” she said.
The speaker also held that there is need to do more than just planting trees adding that anyone who plants a tree should nurture it to maturity.
“I commend all those who have gone an extra mile to tend to the trees I plant whenever they host me to an event,” she said, further stating that, “I would like to see everyone attending an event I am invited to, planting a tree”.
Ms Kadaga further took note of the fact that Parliament has played its role passing laws that protect the environment but it has been a far cry implementing them asking the government especially the concerned authorities to make sure that this gap is closed in implementing the laws.
She also called upon members of the House she heads to carry on the drive in their respective constituencies.
Ms Beatrice Anywar, the Minister of State for Environment, said that the campaign rang close to home as it has always been her passion to care for the environment.
She echoed the Speaker’s message saying that tree planting campaigns should be renamed tree growing.
“When you plant a tree and move on, there is no guarantee that it will grow as it needs to be cared for. We need to attach sentimental value to trees and look after them like they are our own children,” she said.
Ms Anywar added that she will always use whatever means she has and keep pushing her ministry to support such initiatives.
The Uganda Breweries Limited Managing Director, Alvin Mbugua, urged corporate companies to make environmental protection the centre of commercial conversations.
“The environment is integral to our and the nation’s prosperity so we ought to treat it with the importance it deserves,” he said.
Mr Mbugua asked the private sector and the public to get passionate with doing initiatives like the Roots Campaign that will stand the taste of time and have a positive impact of the environment.