Uganda celebrates World Environment Day: the Gains and Losses

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Uganda is today joining the global community to celebrate June 5 -World Environment Day (WED) with both gains and losses registered in the environment sector.

This year, the International celebrations are in Stockholm Swedden under the theme; “Only one Earth” both host and theme symbolic of the 1972 Stockhom conference that formed United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The national celebrations in Uganda will be held today at Kassana Playground in Luweero District under the theme:”Our Earth, Conserve for Life.”

According to a statement from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) the environment sector has registered a general increase in the wildlife population especially in protected areas. For instance, the number of Uganda Kobs increased from 77,759 in 2011 to 175,790 in 2020, African Elephant population grew from 5,739 to 7,975 and Rhinos from 17 to 35 during the same period.

However, the statement indicates that the number of Lions reduced from 493 in 2011 to 373 in 2020, a decline attributed to Human-wildlife conflict within communities neigbouring the protected areas.

Concerning forests, NEMA says the country registered huge gains in the last 3 years since 1990 as forest cover increased from 9 percent in 2017 to 14 percent in 2020. On the other hand, wetland cover decreased from 15.5 percent in 1994 to 13 percent in 2020.

NEMA’s statement also highlights concern over air polution as urban areas in Uganda have, over the last 5 years, consistently registeted readings that are 10 times higher than World Health Organization levels with air polution arising from the transport sector, domestic burning of biomas fuels and industrial activities.

To address the challenges facing the environment and in line with the national theme for this years WED, the government of Uganda has developed a ten-year Environment Restoration Plan with a focus on further reversing forest, wetland and biodiversity loss.

As part of the World Environment Day celebration’s message, NEMA emphasizes that the Earth is our only home and our survival depends on how we treat it.

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