By Ivan Naijuka
A group of Uganda Christian University (UCU) students has embarked on a massive tree planting exercise meant to conserve the environment and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
Under their umbrella body, Young Forester’s Conservation Association, the students launched their campaign on Tuesday June 20, 2017 at Mayor’s Garden in Mukono. During the launch, some trees were planted to symbolize the start of the campaign while hundreds of trees were given to organisations to plant.
These include UCU (200), Mukono Municipality (500), Bishop West Primary School (20) and Bishop Secondary School (20).
Forestry clubs to be formed
Sharon Biira, a third year student of Mass Communication at UCU and CEO Young Foresters Conservation Association thanked the Mayor Mukono Municipality Council Mr. George Fred Kagimu, UCU management and Bishop West Primary & Secondary schools who embraced her association’s go-green campaign.
In line with the tree planting campaign theme of “instilling the culture of tree planting among the youth”, she revealed that her association intends to start Forestry Clubs in schools and sensitize households on the importance of trees, “we are the future and the future is our responsibility,” she said.
Speaking during the launch, Mr. David Mugawe, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor Development and External Relations thanked students for embracing tree planting. He also thanked the Mayor Mukono Municipality George Fred Kagimu and the Mukono district political leadership as a whole for the good will towards the university and students.
On his part, Mr. Kagimu welcomed the initiative and challenged people to preserve the environment, “The world is crushing environmentally and this is brought by the bad acts we are doing. We need to change our ways and the world will be a better place to live in,” he said.
Mayor wants UCU problems addressed
The Mayor also commended UCU for her contribution to the development of Mukono district. “We appreciate UCU, they contribute more than 6 billion shillings to the economy of Mukono municipality per year”, he said.
He challenged the Mukono district leadership to discuss and address matters that affect UCU given that it is a big stakeholder in the development of the town, “Our University is affected by noise from clubs, drives, promotional tracks and others. We need to regulate such as to create conducive environment for students to study.”
He suggested that, “All open noise in Mukono should stop at midnight; and all the promotional drives should not go to the university.”
Signs of climate change
The Uganda Vision 2040 identifies says that although climate change is a global challenge, low developed counties like Uganda “are more vulnerable because of their limited capacity to cope.”
It says that climate change is manifested in the change in rainfall patterns which are low and poorly distributed, prolonged drought; emergence of diseases like malaria in areas that were previously mosquito free.
Others are loss of soil fertility emanating from heavy overrun; frequent floods; and higher temperatures which provides a fertile impetus for pests and diseases. “This implies that sectors and local Governments must plan to adapt to climate change while undertaking mitigation measures in some cases.”
At a global scale, the 13th sustainable development goal is centered on, “taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” With such, it is clear that the UCU student’s tree planting campaign is timely.