Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Conserve Environment To Absorb Gas Emissions During Oil Mining

By Paul Kato

Since 2016, most of the biggest wetlands like Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, Kafu and Nguse among others in the Bunyoro Sub-region have been encroached on by the likes of Hoima Sugar Limited and out-growers to pave away for sugarcane growing.

Charcoal and timber dealers are cutting down trees while oil activities especially East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project are expected to pass through wetlands like Kafu, Wambabya and others.

There is enough evidence to show that wetlands continue to be threatened by oil activities and human activities. Putting these critical ecosystems under threat is likely to contribute to gas emissions. This will result in human health problems.

Recently, Hoima Municipality became an (oil) city meaning that more wetlands are going to be cleared in favour of expanding the city and the development of the oil industries in the area. All these are likely to cause more air pollution and more destruction of wetlands in the area.

Uganda should know that currently, air pollution is exceeding the World Health Organization Limit before even the production of the first oil and the development of industries in the newly created cities.

These emissions are likely not to reduce because of the massive developments expected from the oil industry and the newly created cities in the country.

A lot of oil emissions during oil mining and air pollution resulting from oil industries, motorized transport among others are likely to increase therefore we need to conserve critical ecosystems in the Albertine region which will help in absorbing of the oil emission and air pollution from the industries hence reducing on the health problem.

Therefore, I call upon the government institutions like the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), National Forestry Authority (NFA), newly elected leaders, environmental police among others to lay out the strategies that are going to reduce the oil emissions during oil mining, air pollution from industries and protection of the sensitive ecosystems from oil activities and human activities.

Paul Kato is a Research Associate at Africa Institute for energy governance (AFIEGO)

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Huawei Uganda Announces A New Free Virtual Artificial Intelligence Study To Accelerate Training & Upskilling Of ICT Professionals

Huawei Uganda has today announced a new free Artificial Intelligence (AI) study aimed at accelerating training and upskilling Uganda’s ICT professionals with the latest industry technologies.

The new Artificial Intelligence course is available at the Huawei Uganda ICT academy online website  and classes shall begin today 22nd February 2021 for all those interested to study.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) course is an addition to the already existing Huawei professional certification path which includes on-demand ICT industry courses like Routing and Switching, Cloud computing, wireless, network security, Big Data, Data Communications, among others.

To date, Huawei has trained approximately 4,000 Ugandan ICT Professionals and certified over 1,300 under its ICT Academies hosted by Makerere, Kyambogo, Nkozi, Gulu, Muni, and Mbarara, among other universities.

Initial ICT Academy training on courses under the Huawei professional certification path started in 2019, and continued in 2020 with new virtual trainings due to the COVID19 Pandemic. In 2021, the addition of AI under the Huawei Certified Network Associate (HCNA) path will upskill more ICT professionals with a detailed pool of course units necessary for deep learning.

The HCNA-AI course uses a mainstream TensorFlow framework and supports Keras (a high-level neural network API, and deep learning framework written in Python) widely used, powerful, and has excellent compatibility necessary for fast learning.

Learning material from the course involves basic mathematics and machine learning which will guide students to gradually understand all related techniques of deep learning such as, convolutional neural networks, cyclic neural networks, regularization and optimizers.

At a later point in the course, deep learning in application areas such as, computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing will be introduced to contextualize all AI use cases in the world.

Additionally, the HCNA-AI course provides a convenient platform with an anytime learning mode which allows students to set a custom learning pace. More so, a free simulation environment can be accessed on an Elastic Cloud Server (ECS) hosted on the Huawei Public Cloud, and then installed according to the course manual to help students emulate real-world AI use cases.

The installed environment has a custom public IP address, username and password allowing students to login to the lab environment, and learn anytime from anywhere by simply having an active internet connection.

Also, the HCNA-AI program offers programming exercises which include an image recognition battle, a speech recognition contest, and human–machine dialogue so that students can easily emulate what they learn and implement them through real-world applications.

While unveiling the new HCNA-AI certification structure, Huawei Uganda’s Public Relations Director Gaojian noted that the AI engineering certification path offers fundamental knowledge and provides industry-specific applications that can be used in line with other technologies including 5G, Internet of Things (IOT), among others.

On why Huawei has introduced the HCNA-AI certification study in Uganda, Gaojian said that, “It is to train and certify engineers who can use algorithms, such as machine learning and deep learning algorithms, to design and develop AI products and solutions and make improvement through innovation. Such engineers are competent for sales, marketing, product manager, project management, technical support, and other AI positions.”

So, similar to all Huawei ICT Academy certification paths, HCNA-AI students will be able to participate in the annual Huawei ICT competition and the Huawei ICT Job Fair from where they can showcase their talents against the world’s best in national, regional and global rounds.

Henceforth, as Huawei aims at building a sound talent ecosystem by outputting high quality ICT talent to the ICT industry through its global certification paths, upskilled ICT professionals in the end continue to help in talent development and innovations bridging a new wave of Job creators against Job seekers in Uganda.

People Whose Relatives Died Before Oil Projects Compensation Decry Continued Delay

By George Busiinge

Residents affected by oil and gas related infrastructure projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), feeder roads and others in Kiziranfumbi Town Council and Kiziranfumbi Sub-County in Kikuube district find it tedious, costly and time-consuming to obtain letters of administration before they are fully accepted to claim for compensation on behalf of their deceased relatives.

Letters of administration is a legal document issued by the complement court, which allows the claimant/administrator to manage and distribute the deceased’s estate.

Zuliya Nyakahara, a field monitor for Global Rights Alert (GRA) and district female councillor for Kiziranfumbi admits that several Project Affected Persons (PAPs) are still struggling to process letters of administration for their deceased relatives for compensation.

Nyakahara explains that the majority don’t know the process involved in obtaining letters of administration hence delaying the compensation process.

Joy Kyalimpa, a monitor says women and children are finding it hard to process such letters to get compensated because other relatives always sideline them.

Evelyn Kugonza, a PAP in Kihiigwa whose husband passed on February 18, 2020, says it is now a year of her trying to obtain letters of administration to claim compensation for their property since her husband died.

Brian Nahamya, the Hoima field office for Global Rights Alert says the problem has prompted them to intervene in creating awareness to ease the compensation for the deceased person’s estate.

Samuel Muganzi, the Kikuube District Principal Assistant Secretary asked family heads to always write their wills early enough since death is inevitable to avoid such challenges.


Buseruka Residents Irked By Poor State Of 15KM Road

By George Busiinge

Residents in the oil-rich Buseruka Sub County, Hoima district have been compelled to use hand hoes to fix their impassable road following failure by the government to rehabilitate the road for over 20 years.   

The 15km road that connects residents from the landing sites of Kiryamboga, Fofo, Rwentali and Hoimo in Tonya Parish Buseruka Sub County has been in a sorry state for more than 20 years without being rehabilitated.

It is the only road that connects the locals to Buseruka market and Hoima town. It has become impassable and a deathtrap for boda boda cyclists. Currently, vehicles can’t access the area due to the sorry state of the road.

Majid Jawiya,  one of the residents, explains that they have been compelled to work on the road using hand hoes since the sub-county and district authorities have failed to intervene despite several appeals. 

Umar Athocon, a resident of Kiryamboga landing site, says the road has become a death trap to many boda boda cyclists. He says since October last month, they have lost three boda boda riders on the road due to its sorry state.

Swaibu Onen, also a resident, says currently it is difficult to transport patients especially pregnant mothers to Tonya and Buseruka Health centers since the road is impassable and boda boda riders are failing to access it.

Ali Tinkamanyire, the Buseruka Sub County LC3 Chairperson, says they have a plan of working on the road but their efforts have been hampered by the floods resulting from the lake water rising levels that he says submerged parts of the road. He says they have budgeted for over a billion shillings to rehabilitate the road.

He has called on the residents to be patient as plans are underway to have the dilapidated road rehabilitated soon.

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