Mbarara district chairman Capt. JB Tumusime Bamuturaki has asked the media to start exposing all people specially leaders encroaching on wetlands.
The chairman made the call on Wednesday at Acacia Hotel in Mbarara, while launching the REDD+ Tree Planting Project meant to address challenges of climate change in the district.
REDD+ is short for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and the plus sign (+) stands for the role of conservation.
The project is supported by World Bank, the Austrian Government through the Austrian Development Cooperation in conjunction with Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment.
The campaign was launched yesterday in the districts of Mbarara, Gulu, Masindi and Hoima with hope to revert the tree loss in the country, which is down to 9% as of 2015, from 24% in 1990.
Chairman Bamututaki asked the media to go after rich people and leaders occupying wetlands, which he said would catalyze their eviction.
“I will be happy if you expose those councilors and my fellow leaders contaminating and interfering with River Rwizi, which is a basic tributary of Lake Victoria,” he said.
“Once you expose them, we will come in and arrest them; this operation is not selective; we will take every one of them to court.”
The chairman also asked institutions and locals to adopt new methods of cooking like biogas rather than charcoal and firewood which comes off deforestation.
He went on to call for incremental tree planning in Mbarara district, especially during the rainy season.
“As the district, we have directed all our civil servants and our colleagues in leadership to plant trees at every government facility; and now that rains are on I encourage every person to plant at least 50 trees. I myself plan to plant 10,000 trees to cover our bare hills,” he said
Under the program, he said, people will be getting money in accordance with the number of trees they have grown.
Olive Kyampaire the national REDD+ communications officer in Uganda said the global program is aimed at combating climate change by promoting policies and positive incentives to slow, halt and reverse forest cover and forest carbon loss in developing countries particularly in the tropics.
“The project is an incentive based mechanism that has been negotiated under the United Nations framework conservation on climate change since 2005 to mitigate climate change through reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by improved sustainable forest management in developing countries” she said.