In Summary
  • The issue: Climate change
  • Our view: The NMG climate change symposium is an impressive initiative. We urge Ugandans to embrace these innovations and the government to support them to save the planet.

We have been warned about climate change for several years. And the current devastating effects of climate change such as prolonged drought and heavy flooding is a clear indication that climate change is one of our most pressing challenges.

This is the reason the Nation Media Group (NMG) last Thursday held its second climate change symposium under the theme: “Accelerating climate Actions through Innovations.’’ Held in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment and development organisations: United Nations Development Programme , German Development Agency and Agricultural Business Initiative (aBi), discussions centred on how Uganda can contribute to the global effort aimed at mitigating and adopting to changing weather patterns.

On display at the venue in Kampala, were different innovations ranging from cheap solar systems that can help farmers to extract water for irrigation during dry seasons, biogas technologies where with just two cows, your home will have electricity for cooking and lighting and the by-products of biogas system can still be used as pesticides, feeds for poultry and fish, among others.

Other innovations such as carrier bags from banana peels and fibre, energy saving cooking stoves, were on display.
We were impressed with the way Ugandans are responding to calls to save the planet through such innovations. For instance, biogas can be made from cow dung and human waste.

The 2015 Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicates that 52 per cent of households, which represents 19 million people (then), were keeping livestock. If every household adopted biogas in their home, we would significantly reduce tree cutting for charcoal and firewood. Of course, there would be cost implications with setting up the plant which one innovator estimated at slightly above Shs1 million. This can, however, be subsidised by government if there is will to promote biogas use.

A Joint Water and Environment Sector Review Report, 2017, indicates that the country’s forest cover now stands at 9 per cent and scientists say there is a big link between vegetation cover, forests, livelihood and reducing emissions that result in climate change effects. So by solving energy needs, our planet will be safer.

There is also an innovation of a solar system that enables a farmer plant throughout the year. With drought becoming a threat, government should focus more on making this technology affordable to farmers and preserving wetlands which will provide water for irrigation.

The NMG climate change symposium is an impressive initiative. We urge Ugandans to embrace these innovations and the government to support them to save the planet.

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