As Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Labour Day on May 1, this year in Namutumba District, environmental calamities were taking away lives and destroying property in different parts of the country.
To me, this makes the effects of climate change a reality in Uganda like it is in many parts of the world. They range from heavy rains to rising water levels and dry seasons.
The current loss of property and lives is puzzling but the fact is that the worst is yet to come if the trend of environmental degradation is not stopped and reversed to allow rejuvenation of critical ecosystems.
Chorusing on the news, has been floods and rise in water levels resulting from the heavy rains spilling horrendous effects.
On April 24, a person died and three were reported missing when River Muhokya in Muhokya sub-county in Kasese district burst its banks.
The Kyanzutsu and Nyamwamba rivers also broke their banks around this time, damaging homes in Mahango and Kyanjuki.
Separately, the Uganda Red Cross had reported a person dead and another two injured after a landslide in Bughendero in Buhurira sub-county, Kasese district on May 1, 2023, leaving at least seven people homeless.
In Mbale district, one person died and several homes were swept away by flood in Bushikori parish on April 26, 2023, alongside the three who died from a similar flooding of River Rushaya in Bwambara sub-county on April 29.
I also got reliably informed that on May 3, Kamuwunga village located within the vast Lwera swamp, floods affected hundreds of households and many have been displaced after their houses got submerged in water.
The causes of the disasters and their impacts are not farfetched.
The usual sensitisation and warning given against encroachment on fragile ecosystems ignored by some Ugandans is exposing the messengers to be branded messengers of doom when people are suffering.
I think it is timely to refocus and attach value to every message for environmental conservation that passes.
Constructing and settling in wetlands, carrying out agriculture in catchment areas and permitting investors to degrade wetlands in the name of economic development should stop because what we see as calamities is just the beginning.
The worst reply from nature is absolutely around the corner as long as the duty bearers and all stakeholders do not merge efforts to defend the voiceless nature.
Most visible and pronounced are deaths, property damage and loss of livelihoods but the impact goes beyond that.
Grievous floods cause water pollution due to human activities on the banks of the respective water body.
Industrial effluents are directly released into these rivers and lakes that carry pollutants whose effects move as far as human health and poor agricultural harvests.
It is abundantly clear that action must be taken now than later before it is too late to negotiate with the earth to reverse her own course of action.
The writer, Jemimah Babirye Kasibbo, is an Advocacy Associate at Citizens Concern Africa