The Ugly Truth: How environmental degradation is threatening Uganda’s Status as the Pearl of Africa and Fueling Global Warming

By Kyeswa Hakim

Uganda, a beautiful country blessed with natural resources and diversity, is currently facing a grave environmental crisis: unprecedented hotness. This extreme heat wave has been felt across the country, causing discomfort, and health hazards, and may result in extreme scarcity of food.

The root cause of this hotness can be traced back to two major factors: deforestation and poor environmental conservation laws. Deforestation, the cutting down of trees and clearing of forests, has been a major issue in Uganda for decades.

According to the United Nations, Uganda has lost about 2.4 million hectares of forest cover since 1990, amounting to a 63% decrease in forest area. This alarming rate of deforestation has not only disrupted the natural balance of ecosystems but has also contributed significantly to the current hotness that we are experiencing.

Trees play a vital role in regulating temperature by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and releasing moisture into the air. With fewer trees, the heat-absorbing concrete and vegetation replacement has resulted in a significant increase in temperature, especially in urban areas.

Moreover, Uganda’s environmental laws and policies are inadequate and poorly enforced, making it easy for individuals and companies to engage in deforestation without facing any consequences. The few laws that exist are also weak and lack proper enforcement mechanisms. This has led to illegal and unsustainable logging, land clearing for agriculture and settlement, and unsustainable charcoal burning. As a result, the country’s forests have been depleted, and the remaining trees are not enough to mitigate the heat wave.

The consequences of this hotness are already being felt, not only in Uganda but in our neighbouring countries as well. Just recently, the government of South Sudan was forced to close schools after several pupils reportedly died due to extreme heat. This is a worrying trend, and it is only a matter of time before we start experiencing similar tragedies in our own schools and communities.

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It is clear that urgent action needs to be taken to address this environmental crisis. The government of Uganda, together with its citizens, must work hand in hand to mitigate the effects of deforestation and preserve our environment. One of the most effective ways to combat deforestation is by planting more trees. The government should spearhead reforestation efforts by providing incentives and subsidies to communities, especially in areas that have been heavily affected by deforestation.

Furthermore, the government should enforce stricter penalties for those involved in illegal logging and charcoal burning.

Citizens also have a significant role to play in preserving our environment. Small actions such as avoiding the use of charcoal for cooking, adopting sustainable practices, and reducing our carbon footprint can have a significant impact on the environment. Planting trees in our homes and communities can also help mitigate the heat wave and promote a healthier environment.

In conclusion, the current hotness in Uganda is a wake-up call for all of us to take action to preserve our environment. Failure to address this issue will not only lead to more discomfort and health hazards but also have far-reaching consequences such as global warming.

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Let us all work together to plant more trees, adopt sustainable practices, and call on the government to enforce stricter laws to protect our environment. Only through collective efforts can we ensure a greener and cooler future for Uganda.

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Hakim Kyeswa is a Media analyst, Office of the National Chairman NRM (ONC) – Kyambogo. Email: hakimkim255@gmail.com or Tel: +256762969420


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