Updated: Apr 28
By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa and Nelly Salvatore
Isingiro, Western Uganda: Deputy RDC Christopher Aine joins CSOs for plastic audit in Isingiro Town Council ahead of World Earth Day in his area.
With the stewardship of Oxfam International Uganda Office, in partnership with Community Integrated Development Initiative, CIDI, Caritas Uganda, The Uganda Farmers’ Common Voice Platform, (UFCVP), The Africa Climate Reality Project, CSBAG, Joint Effort to Save the Environment, (JESE), Green Lens International and other stakeholders held different activities in Isingiro district ahead of the World Earth Day.
Civil Society Organisations stated that they chose Isingiro as it is one of the districts in Uganda facing a climate crisis that has negatively impacted mother earth. The climate change crisis has seen Isingiro face challenges like prolonged drought, flooding, and famine among others. These challenges have been greatly contributed by human activities like deforestation, swamp reclamation, farming on steep bare hills, and burning charcoal among others.
While addressing the gathering in Isingiro Town Council, Ruhingo daily market Christopher Aine, the Deputy RDC for Isingiro district pledged to the CSOs already operating in the area and their partners that the district will greatly support all the activities geared towards restoring the ever-deteriorating environment that is a spark off point of climate change.
According to Aine, the district plans to create policies and take actions to safeguard the environment and restore Mother Earth. With the assistance of Oxfam International and other collaborators who are already active in Isingiro District, the RDC is optimistic that these policies and actions will be put into effect to counteract the effects of climate change in the district.
Christopher Aine also urged the communities to start tree-planting projects right from their households as that would be the foundation to implement the campaign effectively. He also urged the community members to start tree planting on the steep hills of Isingiro since most of them are bare and need urgent restoration through tree planting projects.
The deputy RDC also commended the CSOs for cleaning up plastics in Isingiro town council while involving the community members and mentioned that its a manifestation that indeed human activities have greatly contributed to the degradation of the environment, a challenge that can easily be avoided.
Muhindo Jackson Rukara, the Resilience, and Climate Change Coordinator at Oxfam in Uganda at the same gathering expressed that the impact of climate change is more deadly than HIV/AIDS and it is the reason Oxfam and partners in collaboration with the government and citizens are devising possible ways of harnessing a lasting solution for the climate crisis.
Muhindo cites an example of how Kilembe hospital and schools in the Kilembe valley were washed away and are no more as a result of floods from the Rwenzori mountains which is not different from Isingiro district.
“God created a fully-fledged earth that we may depend on it but we human beings have become rebellious to it by creating emissions from industries especially developed countries, cutting down trees, poor disposal of wastes, encroachment on buffer areas like wetlands and others”. Muhindo notes.
Jackson Muhindo asked the residents to desist from activities that degrade the environment like poor waste disposal especially polythene bags and plastics, bush burning, and deforestation. He also encouraged the locals to at least plant five trees whenever they cut one and further mentioned that trees help in the restoration of the environment since they work as carbon sinks.
Muhindo also mentioned that OXFAM in Uganda with support from their donors, Care International Uganda, is implementing a two-year Disaster Risk Management Project with funding from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) which is aimed at the restoration of the environment that is ever-deteriorating in the area.
Hellen Kasujja the Deputy Executive Director of Community Integrated Development Initiative, CIDI showed gratitude towards the gathering and the local leadership for collaborating with NGOs in the area on the activities aimed at protecting the environment and making them a focal point.
She pledges that wherever possible, CIDI will work with Isingiro District both at the local and national levels on projects aimed at the restoration of the environment in the district.
“Every 22nd of April every year we have been celebrating the International Earth Day and as part of activities, we shall participate in the plastic audit around Isingiro Town Council and use it to assess the impact of human activities as well as equip you with environmental protection knowledge ahead of the mega commemoration”. Hellen stresses.
Among other things, the community sought that strict laws be instituted by the district authority and effect immediately especially on tree planting saying their area is bear.
They also decried the laxity of the district authorities in enforcing the already existing laws on safeguarding the environment and thus costing them environmental instability.
They pledge direct involvement in all activities aimed at conserving the environment which among them include, tree planting, re-afforestation, saving buffer areas, and proper disposal of wastes, among others.