Compared to other countries, Uganda ranks high in its number of commitments regarding climate change mitigation and environmental protection. The country has launched its National Climate Change Policy 2015, submitted Nationally-determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2018, and has a Green Growth Strategy in place and signed up.
This strategy was developed by the National Planning Authority in partnership with the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment with financial support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which was developed by a multi-sectoral committee comprised of state and non-state actors chaired by the National Planning Authority.
The strategy seeks to operationalize the tenets of a green economy as espoused in the Uganda Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan III and covers a timeframe of fifteen years.
The most intriguing is that The 2014 Uganda state of the environmental health report shows that Uganda is ranked high among the many countries fast depleting its natural resources and therefore the need to act faster in addressing the related environmental challenges.
For example, poor disposal of plastic bottles, and poor disposal of industrial waste affect the quality of water making it more expensive for the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to invest a lot of money for purifiers which becomes a burden on the final consumers of water in terms of prices.
Furthermore, human activities like deforestation and overgrazing are causing draught as a result of lack of rain. When water sources dry, it becomes more expensive to buy fuel to pump water due to long distances. It is also common knowledge that swamps help to purify water hence their degradation reduces the quality of water.
When water is pumped from long distances to urban centres as a result of dry water sources, this increases the cost of distributing water by NWSC.
In the US, experts have warned that the price of water as a commodity would rise due to mega-drought and rising temperatures. In the UK, water bills were estimated to rise in England and Wales from April according to a research firm, Water UK.
It should also be noted that climate change has not only led to the rising in the price of water, but it has also economically led to rising in gas prices, and insurance rates which have also gone high due to storm damage hence increasing the cost of living for people globally.
In a nutshell, environmental issues are no longer a matter of scenic beauty but also largely contribute to economic survival for households countrywide.
The author; Ben Ssebuguzi is the Secretary-general of the Uganda Poor youth movement, an Entrepreneur, and a Certified Public Awareness and Advisory Associate.