Not every one should first become an environmenalist to understand the importance of trees, vegetation and forest cover to human beings. It’s a given that people need plants to breathe. The more the plants the better our health. So why does government talk too much about environmental protection while practically doing too little in ensuring enough trees are planted every day and every year? It can’t be only incompetence and inefficiency, it’s poor planning, weak leadership with those in positions of power not knowing what to do.
Why does government fail to achieve such basic things like mobilizing people to protect and conserve the environment? Is is too hard a task? Who should be the lead crusader to rally people to plant trees? Why should we keep talking about forestation and nothing much is done as if it would take someone from another planet to teach us how to plant them? What are all government agencies doing? Where is National Forestry Authority (NFA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)? Where is the mother ministry in charge of water and environment? These agencies should wake up. We need more trees to breathe. Moreover they should not concentrate their efforts on rural areas but rather in urban centres, towns and cities. We need more trees in urban areas to suck out the bad air and Co2 emissions. We need to demarcate places where we can plant trees in cities These agencies should buy large chunks of land and start massive programs to plant trees.
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), about 15% of Uganda is covered by forests. The rate of deforestation currently stands at 1% per annum. Unfortunately most, if not all the forests are in rural areas. There are hardly any forests in or near urban areas in Uganda. The increasing population in cities cannot allow trees to grow. Besides, even the little number of trees in towns and trading centres are being cut down as people compete for space. The country doesn’t have any plan to gazette specific spaces and areas to plant trees. Even when people would be willing to plant trees, they have nowhere to plant them. We are used to government bureaucrats sloganeering calling upon citizens to “plant more trees” without guidance whatsoever on how it should do be done! Wake up government, you’ve slept for too long! We are choking. We can’t breathe!