I have been quiet for sometime but was dismayed when I read an article about how Arua still wants Bariffa Forest cut. According to the article, Arua Municipality leaders headed by the mayor are continuously agitating for the degazzettment of the forest for the establishment of an eco-city and also because it is a source of insecurity in the town, despite President Museveni’s earlier directive to halt the degazettment process nationwide.
I sometimes wonder what kind of leaders we have these days who cannot even understand that man’s survival most especially in a town like this depends solely on the environment especially trees that modify the climate, clean the polluted air, regulate flow of water and recharge the underground aquifers like rivers from where the town gets water supply, the idea of saying the forest brings insecurity alone does not even hold water since today the impacts of man on the environment are felt in the towns where long dry spells have resulted into water scarcity, due to drying of surface rivers like Enyau on which the urban population depends, this has accelerated the suffering of the urban people leading to more misery.
Mabira Forest for example lies on the Jinja-Kampala highway and a drive through it differentiates between the benefits of conservation and degradation yet cases of insecurity are minimal since management options of bush clearing, fire lines construction even make hard for criminals to hide in it.
In developed countries like Germany, forests and green belts exist in the middle of the town adds more beauty to the town createing a conducive environment for the urban population to relax and mitigate impacts of climate change.
I believe as leaders we should not be blindfolded by our self interests to deny the local population their right to a clean and healthy environment as stated in the Constitution Article 39,the community needs to be educated about the benefits of environmental conservation as we move forward to the achievement of the sustainable development goals come 2030. This can only come true if leaders can support the government initiatives aimed towards the conservation of nature.
Desmond Kenyi, Koboko