By Aryampa Brighton
Uganda has a vibrant landscape blessed with a green environment and abundance of natural resources. 0ver time, this environment has been encroached by human activities inform of industrialization, agriculture, brick making among so many others. Protected forests of Bugoma central forest reserve and Zoka forest have been the current notable examples being threatened during this pandemic. More environments are at risk of being degraded in this election period or if we don’t take action to protect it.
It is a well-known global fact that Uganda is now close to national elections due January 2021. So far the election campaigns have been trailing with a firestorm of protests in the country. The protests have been characterized by burning of tyres, polythene, poles among so other toxic materials. And of course, the police, army and other security organs have retaliated to the protests with teargas, live bullets. Posters, polythene papers, plastic bottles among others are being loitered everywhere during campaigns. These events are raising significant health and safety concerns not only for those protesting but for the environment. As a country, we are facing air and water pollution, deforestation, swamp encroachment and other environmental issues now. They are a danger to our environment, ecosystems, biodiversity and most importantly our lives.
Therefore it is critical to protect the environment so as to reduce the destruction of ecosystems caused by these myriads of avoidable human activities. I believe it should be a moral obligation for every Ugandan to protect the environment from such degradation because every time an environment is degraded it threatens the long term health of Ugandans, animals and plants. This puts our ecosystem, biodiversity and humanity at great risk of distinction. Therefore it should be every Ugandan responsibility to take care of the environment to make this country and planet a wonderful place to live. We don’t need to put a lot of money to go green but rather simple changes in daily lifestyle is all that is required to keep the environment conserved for the present and future generations. All we need is to think clean and biodegradable, to resist so much from buying plastics and dumping them, plant one tree and then another, encourage recycling.
Take this election period to create an environmentally friendly country, protest peacefully if you must but desist from using materials that will harm our environment. Exercise your right of voting under article 59 of the constitution by voting accountable and transparent leaders that will engage every Ugandan and put policies that create an environment that we all desire, leaders that will respect the vibrant environmental policies that we have as a country. This will be achieved if you put questions to the aspirant leaders on policies they intend to establish so as to protect the threatened environment and ensure clean air and energy. A Clean and healthy environment is one of the essential rights of a welfare state as stipulated under article 39 of the constitution of Uganda, therefore I urge the government to ensure that their agencies work harder to ensure the same, let’s not normalize the use of teargas and as chemical sprays to disperse peaceful protesters. We can probably use water or any other environmental friendly sprays. As a country, we should always remember that a healthy environment, healthy communities and a healthy economy go hand in.
Aryampa Brighton, Youth For Green Communities
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